Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Terror everywhere

Last week, the world watched as Paris, France fell under attack. Guns fired, bombs went off. 100+ innocent people died at the hands of evil individuals and now the rest of the world quakes in fear. 

Since that day last week we have continued to see acts of terror occur throughout the world though most cameras in the mainstream media are on Europe. This is our world right now and for my generation, a selfish generation, it is something we have never fully seen or understood. Sure, we survived 9/11. But most of us were so young that day and since then, the terror has felt very far away.

But it's moving west.

Yes, it's horrible. My heartbreaks for the people of France. But not far away there are thousands and thousands of people that live in fear every day. They are young and old and innocent and all they want is a safe place to live without fear to raise their children and give them a life that simply isn't possible in the Middle East that is constantly a threatening land.

How can we, the fortunate, turn our backs? How can we deny the the basic rights that our ancestors sought when they came to the United States? How can we look at our own children sleeping peacefully in warm beds and be ok with refusing to care for those that are cold and starving and afraid?

I understand the fear that terrorists will come here. I understand that possibility. But this event in Paris doesn't change anything. The threat has not risen from what I can tell. And really, if we are being honest, terrorists are going to make it here if they want. They probably already have. Paris does not change or increase the danger that has been here all along. 

I just can't help wondering what Christ thinks of all of this. It's not hard to imagine he is saddened not only by the terror but also by the lack of love and concern for each other. Where are all the Sammaritans?

Remember the Flight to Egypt. Remember that Mary, with Jesus the Christ in her womb, and her husband Joseph... They were refugees, too. 

Let us remember this as we prepare for our hearts this Advent. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

2 years but the heart still hurts

Two years ago this morning I delivered my sweet little girl, Anna Marie, into the arms of her Heavenly Father. It is still by far the most difficult day of my life. I have talked about it all so many times on here so I won't lay out the details. 

Two years... In so many ways is feels like yesterday. The deep open wounds of my heart are  still gaping and painful and impossible to ignore. I feel the weight of her absence every day.  I thought by now things would not feel so sad. In the sadness, however, I have found God. 

When you lose a child there is an isolation that occurs. You carry on throughout the day and surround yourself with people but you are still alone. You smile but below the surface there is pain that no one quite understands. When no one understands you on Earth you cling to the One that knows your heart. God has pulled me through these dark days but there is a long distance ahead. 

I want to be done suffering but God has called me to suffer with Him. He has called me to lean on him and not one my own understanding. I believe He has a plan and that it right and good and perfect. Despite my quiet suffering, I will follow where He leads. I imagine Mary felt similarly after Jesus died. I have spent so much time reflecting on that. 

 I long for heaven but he has not called me there yet. One day the suffering and sadness will be over. One day we will all be called Home to the Father's arms. We will know the fullness of truth and love and peace that this world cannot know without us all running to Him.

Sweet Anna, I will be with you one day. We all will. I know you are in a place of true happiness so you do not miss me. You are with Love Himself. That brings joy to my heart. One day we will all know that kind of perfect love. I love and miss you every day my beautiful daughter!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Catch us the foxes

I have never been into podcasts. I just can't. I can listen to music all day long but have never looked for found a podcast that holds my interest. Not my thing.

Holy... Yes! Listen to Catching Foxes Podcast! 

I am hooked. I'm listening right now actually. I listen in the car, at work... Lots of times when I shouldn't... Because I can't get enough. It is my friend/former youth minister, and his friend/my acquaintance. It is about the culture we live in and how that affects our Catholic faith.

I love it. LOVE IT.

They sit there and geek out over things that I'm not even nerdy enough to truly understand... BUT more than anything they talk/discuss our cults from their perspective. It is not a lecture. They aren't talking AT me. Just discussing. It is so insightful.

This is what I am looking for in my life. I am so tired about talking about things that are surface level, just skin deep. People my age don't talk about this stuff. I need more Catholic friends/like-minded friends. Don't feel bad for me... I'm fine. But I want this.

I digress....

Gomer and Luke (the two guys on the podcast) talk about all the things. They have touched on pornography, atheism, death and despair, living a life of uncertainty, chastity, music, video games (nerds), superheros (nerds... really), etc. I feel like I have written about this before but what is this world that we live in that we don't talk about the things we cannot see? We talk about the Kardashians and sports like that is our salvation and wonder aimlessly through life day after day and reject (even if unintentionally) the One who breathed life into us.

This has been bothering me recently. Do you ever wonder "Where is God?" I know people say that in tragedy but I mean in your daily life. Do you know God is present? Do you see Him in the poeple you talk to at work and in line at the grocery store? Do you feel him in your home with your family?

This world is difficult because mankind is constantly pushing the Creator, the Truth, away. When you are surround by those who reject the Cross, it is easy to see only darkness. There is sadness and betrayal and guilt and devastation. But let us not forget...

Christ suffers with us.

This seems to be a recurring theme and quite frankly somethng I need to hear. We all have a cross that we carry but we do not walk the long road alone. When the Father and the Son are intangible and difficult to understand, the Holy Spirit, the most mysterious person of the Trinity, descends and sheds light into the hearts of the lonely doubter. The icy walls are melted away and our eyes can be opened to see the crucifiction and resurrection and we can know that in Christ we can rise again with Him.

"Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that damage the vineyards; for our vineyards are in bloom." Song of songs 2:15


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Looking ahead

I go through waves of being successful in writing a blog and then I go through phases of completely sucking at it. I have been in one of those phases recently.

Life is happening so rapidly. I feel like I blinked and my baby turned one. I thought I had all summer to prepare for his birthday party but summer flew by in what felt like a week. I threw things together with the help of a very supportive husband and mother. Thank you both! I love you and appreciate you!

We are now days away from my birthday. It has creeped up on me and the only reason I know my birthday is coming is because I looked at the date, realized tomorrow is my best friend, Kelsey's, birthday which is exaclty one week from my birthday...

What are my birthday plans you ask? No idea. In fact, I think I will keep the fact that my birthday is coming on the down low because if people start asking me about plans I won't have an answer. I'm ok with it but it's not what people expect.

So here we are. Days from October (best month of the year). With so much to look forward to. I see Fall Festivals, Pumpkins, Halloween, falling leaves, Thanksgiving, snow, and Christmas in the very near future. I am thrilled at the chance to experience all of this in a whole new way with my sweet husband and adventurous growing boy!

Thursday, September 24, 2015


I look in the mirror everyday. Usually multiple times a day. I often scrutinize over the rapidly appearing wrinkles and wonder how I simultaneously end up dealing with breakouts... Which seem like those of a teenager. Not fair.

I have scars and freckles and laugh lines and crows feet. None of which are desirable physical attributes to have when you are in your twenties. I look at myself and wish I was different. That I didn't have these permanent reminders of passing time and troubled days.

And then I look at my son.

My son's skin is pale and perfect. It is pure and innocent and unmarked from the affects of the sun or the earth. He is unblemished. 

Recently I have noticed his knees have become rough from crawling and from falling in his failed attempts to walk. His innocent and inexperienced young skin is starting to lose its purity. He will soon have rough patches, scars from his many falls, and freckles from the sun (he is his mother's son after all). 

God is funny like that. 

Our skin is truly only skin deep, just the exterior. Our body are beautiful and in a way perfect at every stage of life but they are the shell of what matters. Our souls. Our bodies, our skin, reflects the soul. 

Every scar I bare, every wrinkle... It is part of me.

One day my perfect little boy will have wrinkles and scar like mine because he lived life well. It is part of growing up. It saddens part of me but stirs up joy in another. 

God's design is incredible to me.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Father's Day

TFather's Day is here and my heart is exploding with love for the man that I call husband and the father of our children. This is the first official Father's Day.

I always imagined him as a dad and I knew early on that he would be a good one but nothing could have ever prepared me for the melting of my heart that takes place when I watch Patrick playing with Luke. He plays with him and the laughter between Patrick and Luke consumes me. There is really nothing quite like it. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Time Hop Nostalgia

Most people have heard of the popular phone app "Time Hop" and I jumped on the bandwagon not too long ago after months of time hop posts bombarding my facebook newsfeed. I caved in a moment of weakness. Whatever...

Anyways, I love it! It is so funny to look back! 7 Years ago Patrick and I went on our first date and sort of started talking. It is so funny to see the things we said to each other and how we picked on each other because I am awkward and don't know how to flirt. The funniest thing is that I was so in denial about my feeling for him. I was constantly pushing those feelings away. I pushed him away. But he kept coming back. Thank God.

Those early days with Patrick were really something. There are no words to adequately describe that time in my life. I had never really been in love before and it consumed me. It was actually terrifying and I know now (hind-sight is really something else, isn't it) that that is the reason I was continuously pushing him away. But Love always wins.

Do you ever look back and think about how one little desicion changed everything for you? Or how life lined up just perfectly so that one event could take place? I often revel in that mystery when it comes to Patrick and I. So often that it is possible that I have already written about this before.... maybe.

How did a girl from Texas fall in love with a guy from Kansas? Sure we both went to the same college but we never had classes together. We had different friends (initially). I saw him on campus but did not know him. I am not even sure when I learned his name. He was just a guy I recognized.

What if I hadn't gone to Pittsburg State University? What if I had never left Texas? What if I had fallen away from my faith in college like so many students do and never gotten involved at the Newman Center where we ended up getting to know each other? What if I had not gone to the end of the year Banquet and Ball my freshman year (I wasn't planning on going to it but someone convinced me last minute) and spent the majority of the evening dancing with him? What if we had gone our separate ways after the Banquet and not stayed up until 5 AM talking and watching movies?

Things happen according to His plan and I truly believe that. Everything in my life feels like a domino affect. One thing has to happen so that another thing can happen... etc. It's crazy but a realization that brings me calm. Truth is: I have no control.

There are so many cliches that come to mind: When one door closes another door opens. There is some real truth to that one. It helps me to remember that no tragedy is ever all that tragic when you look at the big picture. It is just a piece of the puzzle, a necessary domino in  the line that leads me to the next big thing. This understanding takes away so much anxiety from my life.

So Time Hop isn't so bad after all, I suppose. I'm just going to sit here and sip on my fourth cup of coffee and flip through another chapter of my life story while my little boy naps. And I'll thank God for the good, the bad and the ugly that have brought me to this peaceful place in my life.

God is Good all the time.

This could have been a great first picture together but I had to be eating a piece of chocolate cake... with my hands... because I'm classy like that.

The girl that said the Banquet and Ball would be "bitchin" and I should totally come. Thanks, Katie.

Other best friends that were made that night... Thank you, God.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Waking up

A few weekends ago, I witnessed a beautiful thing. I saw a man answering the call. I saw with my own eyes the relentless love God has for His people as one of my best friends layed himself before the altar and called on all the Saints.

He became a Roman Catholic Priest.

The Cathedral was beautiful, of course. It was a full house. But it was filled with more than people. There was a point in the ordination, I actually can't quite pinpoint when it was, but suddenly the room took on a new sort of fullness. It was above us and between us as we sat in the pews. Heaven came down. It was tangible.

Now I know the day had little to do with me. The focus was on the men on the altar. But my heart erupted and something woke up inside of me. I honestly don't know how to describe it and it took me some time to really understand, to put my feelings into words.

God feels more present to me in my life than He has for a long time. I didn't even know I had gotten so far away. But I did. And now I'm here.... And I don't know what is next. Is there a plan? I don't know what I'm supposed to do.

I'm making it my mission to focus my marriage, my family, my child, my job as a nurse and my job as a mother... To focus on Him in all of this. It's hard. I'm so far from perfect but I just feel this pull... It's indescribable.

Pray for me.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Those three words

I got a guitar for Christmas a few years ago and I was determined to become this awesome guitarist. Both of my brothers play and are pretty good and I have always wanted to. I was pretty good at practicing and teaching myself for about the first 6 months to a year  and then when I got pregnant enough that it was difficult to hold the guitar close enough to my body and I could no longer see what my fingers were doing my efforts diminished into essentially nothing.

I picked up the guitar again today and retaught myself the few songs that I had learned previously and then did what I do best... I googled. I searched "easy song chords" and clicked on the very first link. I found a song I recognized and started teaching myself. It was Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol. I know this song like the back of my hand so it was easy to pick up the strumming and picking on the guitar. I listened to the words and something stood out to me in the lyrics.

"Those three words are said too much and not enough."

That one line really got me thinking about "those three words."

I love you.

In January, Mike, a person that I love, passed away in a tragic helicopter crash. I flew with my 4 month old, Luke, to Texas for the funeral to be with my family and my extended family. Not aunts and uncles and cousins, but my church family. Anyways, the overall theme of my time there was to always remember to and never hesitate to tell the people you love that you love them. I suppose it isn't that uncommon to hear something like that at a funeral. It really hit home for me though.

Do I use those three words enough? Do I tell Patrick and Luke I love them enough? Do they actually know how deeply I love and care for them? Do they know that my heart aches and burns with an intensity just laying eyes on them? Did Anna know that? Does she know that now?

I do tell my family that I love them and a select other group of people. But I love so many people that I have probably never told. There are people that I see daily (friends, neighbors, co-workers) that I genuinely love and care about. Not with the same intensity that I love my immediately family, sure, but it is another kind of love is it not? I do love them but I have never told them. What if something happened to one of them and they never knew that I loved them?

It's almost like our culture doesn't even recognize this as love. If you tell these non-family members that you love them it is a frivolous use of "those three words." Like it takes away the meaning behind them.

Are we not called to love each other? Is there even such a thing as using those three word too much?

Imagine a world where people didn't hold back or hesitate to tell each other that they loved one another. If everyone felt loved by someone and truly knew that deep down. It's sad that I can hardly fathom it but I imagine that everything... everyone... would be happier. There would be less war, less abuse, less suicide...

I can't change the world but I could try. I can start with my family and the people close to me. The people that read this blog (yes, all 3 of you! haha) could along with me start a contagion, a ripple effect.

Then... who knows what could happen.

Love each other.

A (Week Late) Reflection on Mother's Day

I was going to write this on Mother's Day but... ya know. Life.

I had an interesting start to Motherhood so I don't consider this year to be my FIRST Mother's Day even though that is what everyone kept calling it. "Happy First Mother's Day." I just politely say thanks you. A year ago I was still grieving the loss of my daughter while simultaneously rejoicing in the anticipation of meeting my son. I felt like a mother but my heart ached to hold my child. I didn't even know which one I was longing for. I just felt the weight of my empty arms.

This year was different. 

I always thought I was "ready" to have a child. Now that phrase makes me laugh. How can anyone really be ready? No matter how much experience you have with children, once that baby is born you are thrown into motherhood, ready or not! And it was harder than I ever really imagined (and based on what I hear from other women it sounds like I have a really "easy" baby).

In the last year I have grown so much. In the last couple months leading up to Luke's birth I experienced pain I had never felt before on a daily basis. I watched my body change drastically and I watched permanent marks develop on my abdomen. It was humbling. And totally worth it. Then September 17th arrived and though I had been in early labor for well over a week and experienced that discomfort, true labor was another beast entirely. I had the option to easy the pain with the potential risk of it affecting my child. That would not be worth it. I would endure any pain that came my way to protect the child I had never seen. And the physical damage, the aftermath, done to my body did not matter.

The first moment I layed eyes on him is forever engraved in my mind. I wish that there was physical evidence, a photo or something, to show people that moment so they would understand. But nobody else is his mom so no photo could adequately display the warming of my heart in that moment. Love was spilling over the rim and invading every inch of me. One look at him and I was forever changed. 

In the last 7.5 (8 tomorrow actually!) months I have given everything. I have poured myself out day and night. I have done all the normal baby thing like changing diapers, giving baths, feeding... I always thought those things would feel like chores but they don't because they are done completely out of love. Does it often get overwhelming? You bet. I am human. I have cried, raised my voice... I have certainly had some ungraceful moments. There are even times that it has caused a tiff between Patrick and I. We are both human. But we have both given everything.

I am not writing this to toot my own horn. Not by any means! I just want to express to my mom and to other experienced moms.... I get it now.

I get the sacrifices that you make on a daily basis. I understand giving of yourself to one tiny little human until you feel like there is nothing left by the end of the day. Even though I work, I do get a day off during the week. And I do get that being a stay at home mom would be a full time job in and of itself. I understand the frustration of a  crying child and trying EVERYTHING to stop the tears because evry single one breaks your heart. I get what it means to be tired. I get that sometimes you have to run to Target with dried snot on your shoulder because if you change your clothes again #1 you will probably still end up with more bodily fluids on your shirt by the time you get there and #2 if you waste your time changing clothes you might miss your small window of time and then not make it to the store at all. Sacrifice.

Being a mom is my second job but it still comes first. It is the hardest, most difficult, most draining but most rewarding job there is. It is hands down the best thing I have ever done in my life and I would do it all again. All of it. For my daughter in Heaven and my son here with me on Earth. So mamas... thanks for letting me join your club. And God bless each and every one of you!