Saturday, September 6, 2014

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Even though this was a public hospital, in the maternity unit, everyone fought fiercely for the life of every unborn child. Whether they were cognizant of the fact or not, these doctors and nurses embodied the teaching of the Church.
For you created my inmost being;

You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. -Psalm 139:13-14-

Pregnant with my seventh child, I was bedridden in the high-risk, neo-natal wing of the maternity ward for a week. I was waiting for a housekeeper to come  run my home and help tend my six children. Although I faced six months of bed rest, that one week gave me perspective and kept me from sinking into self-pity. Two other women in my room were desperate to keep their babies in utero and finally become mothers. One of the two had suffered five miscarriages. She was stuck in a ward room for months, only going home after the birth of her baby.
Secretly we all feared that we would lose our babies. Suddenly our fears materialized as a high-risk woman’s baby died in her womb. That poor woman had to endure an induction and labour for hours, only to push out a dead baby. The pain in that wing of the hospital was tangible. Tears ran down women’s’ faces as they grieved with their neighbour. It did not matter that none of us had even glimpsed her face. Nurses as well as patients mourned for a sister who was loosing her newborn. I became so nauseated with the awful vibes that pressed in on me that I ended up retching over the side of my bed with ice packs on my head to relieve a migraine.
Thank God, after the delivery, they moved this mother to the maternity wing where she was given a free, private room. Nurses as well as patients sighed with relief when the nurses told us that the hospital understood the need to shelter grieving mothers from others who cuddled and nursed their new babies.
Even though this was a public hospital, in the maternity unit, everyone fought fiercely for the life of every unborn child. Whether they were cognizant of the fact or not, these doctors and nurses embodied the teaching of the Church.
Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.
Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:
You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.
God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes. CCC 2270-2271
My generous spirit petered out after a few weeks at home. My only outing was to a high-risk appointment every week. Church was even out of the question, so Michael brought home communion and the readings each Sunday. I remained in a prone position, eating while propped up on one elbow with my food cut into small pieces. The high-risk doctors let me use a regular toilet and have a quick shower every morning. In those days, we had one large, heavy T.V. in the living room, a black dial-up phone on the hall wall, no stereo system, no computer and the bedroom window was cloudy, so I could not look outside. In frustration I phoned my doctor one morning after my shower.
“But I don’t feel sick. I feel fine and my kids need me!” I wailed.
My usually laid back, jovial doctor explained my situation in graphic detail.
“You have a huge clot, 4-cm thick, 6-cm, wide from the top of your womb where the placenta tore down your entire right side. The last time this happened at the Civic was two years ago to a woman who had four kids at home. They both almost died. We had to call the Archbishop in to explain to her that it was more of a sin to her remaining children if she foolishly died along with her unborn child.
“Listen to me. Keep this image in your mind. Imagine that here is a gun pressed to your temple, cocked waiting only for the slightest movement to set it off. Lay in bed and do not move!”
Well that got my attention.
The hardest aspect to my forced “vacation” was letting go of control of how strange women cleaned my home, washed laundry and made meals. I endured terrible cooks and inept, lazy house cleaners but at least my kids could still lay down beside me as I read to them and helped with homework. It almost seemed orchestrated because God seemed to delight in my inactivity; He had ample time to teach me to let go, trust and to allow others to serve me.
The end result of my confinement was a beautiful baby girl with huge black eyes and black hair that stood straight up. She is now a gentle artist/philosopher whose dark eyes  still sparkle with life and joy, only one of the hundreds, why maybe thousands of young adults who owe their very existence to  ordinary nurses and doctors in maternity wings who fight for the lives of the unborn.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Mary is My REAL Mum!

God has inscribed a moral code on my heart. It is  hidden in my deepest self. Actually, if  as an adult, I can block out my own ego and simply stop to listen, I can live a holy life. In fact Christ  offers an easy way to sanctity, to loving God and each other.  A spirituality that a child understands. A spirituality that St.Thérèse of Liseux understoodRelax. Give up striving. Surrender to His love and let it saturate every cell of your body. Then simply let His love flow through you. It ends up being a long journey to embrace such a carefree lifestyle because pride and ego get in the way. It is so simple that it seems complicated to our adult, logical minds.
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
And in even stronger terms:
“I assure you,” He said, ‘unless you are converted and become like children, , you will never get into the kingdom from heaven…’” Matthew 18:4
The Catechism of the Catholic Church:
526 To become a child in relation to God is the condition for entering the kingdom. For this, we must humble ourselves and become little. Even more: to become “children of God” we mu–t be “born from above” or “born of God”. Only when Christ is formed in us will the mystery of Christmas be fulfilled in us. Christmas is the mystery of this “marvelous exchange”:
O marvelous exchange! Man’s Creator has become man, born of the Virgin. We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share our humanity.
A relationship to the living God is child’s play. Listen to this exchange between my young children:
One afternoon, I was making dinner, standing at the counter with my back to our three youngest children. Grace and Daniel were lounging around the kitchen table, with three-year-old Rebecca perched like a little elf on a high stool, happily swinging her legs.
Simply making conversation, Grace who was eight, asked Rebecca,“Rebbecca, whose your favorite, Mum or Dad?”
Rebecca replied,”Both!”
Still facing the counter, I looked over my shoulder and intruded on their conversation, “Smart answer, Rebecca.”
Rebecca was not done though, “But she’s not my real mum, Mary is.”
Grace rolled her eyes, slapped her forehead with the palm of her hand and said incredulously, “Where does she get this stuff?”
I tried to explain as simply as I could, “Well, the Holy Spirit is in her heart and she listens to His voice.”
Rebecca jumped right back into the discussion and chanted in a sing-song, lilting voice, “That’s right. God the Father in my heart. Baby Jesus in my heart. Holy Spirit in my heart. Mother Mary in my heart…but…I still like Mum and Dad the best!”
Grace rolled her eyes and plunked her head down on the table with a loud sigh, “Where does she get this stuff?”
I just laughed.
A few weeks later, as I crouched down to tie Rebecca’s shoelace,  she picked up the small gold cross I wore around my neck and said, “This is the cross of Jesus and the glory of God shines all around it.”
Grace rolled her eyes again, slapped her forehead and asked, “Where does she get this stuff?
She’s made in the image of God and she gets it right from the source of all truth.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Full Time: Working For My Father

Welcome, friends, to another Memoir Monday!
 as well as some info on the blog hop.
I hope you'll consider linking!
And please visit the bloggers who have joined in!
They've made this blog hop successful and inspirational!

With Mother's Day on the horizon,  
I began thinking about this very special vocation 
with which many of us are abundantly blessed.......
and reflected:

Life is lived around here between slicing apples into turtle sized bites, one just rescued from certain death crossing a busy road bordering our development. And the supplying of a desperately needed Tupperware for grubby, muddy little boy hands to house a beetle, cricket or worm. 
            And generally coasting through our brimming and busy days around  ratios, circumference, the Pythagorean theorem,  Earth science reference tables, test tubes, microscopes, assorted, strewn-about art supplies, Paul Revere’s midnight ride, half written essays on the causes of World War I, vocabulary lists, scattered violin and piano sheet music, baseball game schedules, self imposed writing deadlines, cleats, mitts, a bottomless laundry basket, always-dueling John Wayne impressions, homeschooling paperwork, tests, workbooks and inexplicably multiplying piles of legos and tech equipment. Oh yeah. And lots of noise.

Despite all this though, and the fact that I never, ever get five uninterrupted minutes ( as all homeschooling Moms can also attest) and the fact that it's taken me four hours off and on to type to this point in the post due to life's demands ( demands which I loooove, yet wipe me out)  and that as I  type this, I'm mediating some sort of dispute over who's music stand is in who's bedroom and not in the den where he swears he left it and who's turn it really is to unload the dishwasher and really how could you possibly think that the turning of the plot in' The Impossible Astronaut' is the scene in which The Doctor says, .......okay,  well, you get it. When they start arguing over Stephen Moffat's true intent in season 5, you know it's time to throw in the towel for the day ...... Yup, here’s the thing: 

I don’t miss it. You know, working.  

For pay. Outside my home. I don’t want it back. Not anymore. I’m not looking to be fulfilled by looking beyond my home and my family. 

Is this too provincial?  Too June Cleaver-backwards? Well, June Cleaver sans pearls and heels. Because I'm not a  pearls and heels person. 

 That I choose to stay home and not only like, I love, revel in, am passionate about, feel blessed by what I do?

 That I am called to tend my home, keep the hearth, teach the children.

 And not part time.

 That I maintain the best living and learning happens in the heart of my home?

That despite feminine strides for “equality,” I say, “Take THAT, twenty-first century. You can keep the norms and expectations of our times. I’m not buying into this.”

Because I know, I truly know, without a doubt as do many, many Moms, growing legions of mothers, that the feminist agenda is harmful to women. It’s harmful to children and families. It’s harmful to the future of our country.

 I choose to work for Him. This is my calling.  
Is my homeschool brimming with charity, energy and momentum? Waves of productivity and swells of creativity? How about Thoreau-like jaunts into the woods to immerse in our art? Picture perfect? No way. 

And that's not really the point, is it?

            No, my life is real. And unkempt and disorganized, disheveled, sometimes undone, burnt, unvacuumed, tardy, unmet, unwashed, wounded and just plain, lacking something, sometimes. 

But what it doesn't lack is the love. and the purpose and the certainty that this is where I prefer to be. 

Now it's your turn:

Please link your memoir posts~

I am not opening a new linky this week
 because  I really would like the links to stay here all in one spot. 
This way, readers can conveniently scroll down there
 and click to my blogger friends who've linked!

Please enjoy their stories.

If you decide to link your blog post, I'd be most honored and grateful.
I'd only ask that you grab the Memoir Monday button
 for your sidebar or your post.
Or  that you  mention my blog in your post
 so that your readers can come back to the home of the hop if they'd like. 
Thank you!

I am also gratefully linking this with Catholic Bloggers' Network.

Have a  lovely day, friends and thank you for visiting!

 Until next time,


Friday, August 24, 2012

A Catholic Courtship Story

I recently read a lovely book called Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship. Since it was nearing our 9th wedding anniversary, this book got me reminiscing about my own courtship with my now husband. And, because reading/hearing about how God brings a couple together always inspires and uplifts me, I thought I'd share our story in the hopes that you will share yours. ;)

To begin this story, I have to back up a bit. As most of the people who know me, or who read this blog regularly, know that I spent a number of years discerning a religious vocation. I entered the convent after recently returning to the faith, firmly believing that I was called to religious life. Yet, there was an underlining <em>something</em>, a doubt that I suppressed. Like I said, I had only a couple years before returned to the faith and I wanted to do “something big” to show my love to the Lord. I thought it was to sacrifice family and become a religious sister.

Over the years, the signs that my vocation was marriage and to have a family firmly showed themselves, so during Holy Week 1999 I returned home. It was a bittersweet time. I loved the sisters but knew I had to live the vocation God was calling me to. I began to pray for a spouse.

My prayers weren’t answered until a couple of years later. I like to have a good time, but I’m no party girl. Doing the whole “club scene” or going to bars isn’t my thing. A couple of people tried to set me up but that wasn’t my thing, either. Then I started hearing stories of different couples who met online.

I wasn’t sure if that was my thing or not, but as a birthday present to myself, in 2002 I signed up for Ave Maria Catholic Singles. After filling out my profile, and doing the search, my now husband’s profile showed up. And then again. And then again. And then again. :) Finally, I got up the courage to send him a message.

He promptly wrote back to inform me that he was currently discerning marriage with someone else. Okay, I thought, that door is closed. But, EVERY time I went to the singles site his profile would show up as a 100% match.

I started communicating with a couple other of people and tried to ignore Michael’s face every time he showed up. Several weeks later, I received a message from him. The relationship he was in didn’t work out and he wanted to know if we could chat. I said yes. :)

We started emailing through Ave Maria’s messaging system. We clicked right away in our emails and I had a good feeling about him. And the funny thing, the day after Michael and I started messaging the other guys I was communicating with dropped off the face of the earth. Literally. Our communications had been friendly and going well, but they instantly stopped writing, their profiles were gone, and I never heard from them again. It was as if they never existed!

A week after we started emailing, Michael asked if he could call me. I gave him my number and when he called we talked for over an hour. When we hung up, I said out loud, “This is the man I am going to marry.” I just knew. It was as if the Lord Himself was telling me this. Of course, I continued to pray about it, and every time I did, I had this “knowing.”

A week later, Michael asked me out on our first date. Our first date was May 1, 2002, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. I have a strong devotion to St. Joseph, so I took this as a good sign. So much so, I was ‘dumb’ enough to let him pick me up from my apartment instead of meeting him at the restaurant!

What can I say? Our connection went deeper. We talked at the restaurant over two hours. Left the restaurant and we talked some more. A week later, we met each other’s parents. Six months later, on his birthday, Michael asked me to marry him.

His proposal was so special. He didn’t take me to a restaurant or to our favorite spot to propose. He took me to church. We went to the local church which had perpetual adoration. After we were praying for a while, he whispered to me to close my eyes. “Why? I don’t want to,” I said. “Just do it,” he said. So I closed my eyes and after a few seconds he told me to open them. He had placed the ring on the top edge of the pew in front of us. When I saw it I started trembling and I looked over at him. He knelt on the kneeler and said, “In the presence of God, Carol, will you marry me?” Obviously, I said yes. We prayed for a couple of more minutes before going to share the news with our families and continue to celebrate his birthday.

Nine months later we were married. Two years later we had Andrew. Like I said above, it hasn’t always been easy. But God has always been faithful. Both of us have grown and changed and we’ve been through some very rough times, BUT we trust in the Lord and know that the Lord has brought us together for His purpose and glory.

Your turn. How did the Lord bring you and your spouse together?

(Photo Credit)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Nurturing Vocations in the Family

Father Allain Caparas and Sister Jessica Whitman gave a talk recently at Mater Ecclesiae for the Annual C.H.A.P.L.E.T. Catholic homeschool conference. The topic of their talk was "Nurturing vocations in the homeschool: What to do. What not to do."

As today is Vocation Sunday, I feel better about the delay in posting my notes as this is the perfect day for the subject!

I came in after sister had finished speaking and took these notes from Father's talk.

He explained that vocations to religious orders vs. a diocese differ in their defining spiritualities. Comparing them to doctors, he related cleverly that orders are like specialists - working missions or involved in education, or working with the poor.  In a diocese, the work is nitty-gritty. A religious there is more like a general practitioner.

Strongly stating that the parent can not push a vocation to religious life, Father went on to give a list of things a family can do to increase the faith of it's members. These are qualities of homes that religious have come out of. These are qualities that make HAPPY and dedicated religious. nurture a vocation a family needs to:

  • respect the faith and LIVE the faith
  • be generous with time and talents with the Church
  • model the value in giving, tithing for instance
  • teach discipline and sacrifice
  • give chores and responsibilities
  • fall in love with the Mass and pray
  • teach children to be loving and pray
  • be devoted to Our Blessed Mother (Father related that praying the Rosary everyday changed his life)
  • foster a desire to learn
  • be loving to ALL, the popular and unpopular
  • be a part of the Church
  • teach good social skills
  • encourage listening
  • understand what Mother Theresa meant when she said that compassion and thoughtfulness are the beginning to great sanctity.
  • enjoy the gift of youth, don't wish childhood away
  • for boys, teach them to be deferential to women...chivalrous
  • engage in conversations about hopes and dreams but never badger or force religious life - God gives callings.
  • doing God's will is #1
  • attend discernment group formation
  • find a mentor, spiritual director
  • pray for your children daily and be a role model of faith
  • trust in God!
Father also said that education wise, a priest usually needs a Master's in Divinity. Some orders will take younger candidates without those degrees depending on the work of the order's spirituality and same for sisters, it depends on their work.

As a recent article in the Wall Street Journal,  "Traditional Catholicism Is Winning"
supported, Father also concurred that vocations are coming from "traditional, orthodox" parishes with pastoral consistency.

In taking questions from the audience, Sister related that she could recommend Seton homeschool curriculum as it prepared her to be a nun. Father spoke to a mother that was concerned for her children not having as many friends as they might like or have in a bricks and mortar school. He said that those friends might not always be the best for our children. The values shared when our children are together with like-minded friends would strengthen them and support our parenting goals. Not friends just for the sake of friends....

At the end Father and sister both mentioned books that had been inspiring to them, agreeing on the Life of St. Isaac Jogues. Bible reading was, of course, mentioned and for Father the book,

A Man for Others: Maximilian Kolbe the "Saint of Auschwitz" by Patricia Treece was mentioned as pivotal to him.

 The CHAPLET conference ( was, once again, a great experience that revitalized parents in the work of trying to raise children who will love and honor their Catholic faith. Many thanks to the organizers and inspiring speakers.

in +JMJ+, Allison from

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Welcome Jackie from My Catholic Family Circus

Hi my name is Jacqueline, everyone who is near and dear calls me by nickname: Jackie. I am a very blessed wife and mommy with many job hats that works for Free, but barters with hugs and kisses, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

I am a homeschooling stay at home mommy to 5 Lil' Rascals for 10 years and schooling for 4 years. We also have a lil' Baby Love angel up in Heaven above who sadly died of fetal demise in February 2008. Our extended pet family includes 2 cats Valentino and Tigger, and one cutie beagle Buster Brown. I have been married to my soul mate, best friend and husband Dennis for 11 years and blessed to know his beautiful soul for 14 years and counting.

Before my blessed mommy years I worked and aspired in a career in marketing. For 10 years I worked as a graphic and web designer and then as a project marketing consultant and analyst for several New Jersey and New York advertising agencies as well as newspapers in the tri-state area. I use my God-given talent and background in business to help me with my homeschool and mothering ministry. For a while, in my early mommy years I thought I was totally useless to the working world, but I slowly realized with help from many of my favorite Catholic authors and bloggers that this was not the case. God is awesome and He had a very definitive purpose for my life,whether in my career or as a mother. My background in business has helped me to organize and fulfill happiness in my domestic church (aka- my home) as well to properly organize my children in homeschooling and extracurricular activities. Because of the many online mommy blogs I read, I was able to learn about this beautiful and divine ministry of mothering and get out of my slump.

My personal goal with my family blog is to chronicle my Catholic family trying to live the word of God everyday through His grace and infinite wisdom. Life is supposed to be messy, and not perfect. I hope to chronicle the good times with the bad, and also to be able to payback forward and mentor those who are just walking into the divine and heavenly trenches of mommy hood, as it was done to me early in my mommy stages. It's a beautiful ministry made from the hand of God. Our American culture is too quick in giving our mothering ministry a bad name. In time and with God's grace, we as mother's have to realize that we are not in control.

One day at a time, one thing at a time is my piece of advice to any mom in need of spiritual uplifting, and it may sound silly but always try to have God on your mind when you drink that glass of water.  It's simple lil' thing I do often during the day. I am always thankful to God, but the only time I have for prayer is when I drink a glass of water, and it's for 1 minute, if that! =) As a mommy we will have our good and bad days. On those bad days with the kids frayed on your nerves and the house messy and husband getting at your last lil' nerve, PRAY. It works and keeps you sane and happy. I truly believe it's our divine vitamin from God.

It's a hard walk at times to be a good mother and wife in this crazy world, but with Love and Faith and lots of Laughter, anything is possible with God! May the new bloggers joining this new network find comfort and mentoring in your words and life. May God bless you and find happiness in this new and beautiful Catholic Bloggers Network. Until next time...