Monday, January 28, 2019


My heart is overcome with sadness and sickened by the news that came out of New York this week, making abortion legal up to birth in that state.

How has our country become so without conscience that people can cheer and celebrate murdering a fully developed child in its mother's womb?!?

It's just unfathomable to me.

The only difference between a child in utero at 9 months and a child in its mother's arms at 9 months is location.

It just makes no sense. A mother that aborts a baby so close to birth still has to deliver the baby! What is it going to do to the mother's psychological health to have to go through all the pain of labor only to deliver a dead baby that she had killed?!? What is that going to do to the emotional health of doctors and nurses present in a delivery that ends in silence...because of them?

How is this something to be cheered and celebrated???

Even people that are pro-choice and support first trimester abortions....doesn't this go too far for you? How long can people just focus on the "right to choose" and not on the human being that is not being chosen??

At 3 months gestation, that baby is hidden in its mother's body. He or she is is not felt by its mother. He or she has not become a conscious reality.

But at 9 months....that little one has been wiggling and moving around for months! Moms have felt their arms, legs, hands, feet, and hiccups. At that point, there is no doubt that there is another person in your body. And how can a mother...who has to deliver the baby anyway...decide to kill that child? And how can any doctor morally and ethically kill that baby? And how can politicians push for such a horrible law that in no way protects or saves women?

It's just madness. The politicians have passed something evil that is in no way meant to protect women. It's been stated over and over by obstetricians that there is never any medical reason to abort a baby at the end of development to save a mother.

I keep thinking about Mother Teresa..."Please don't kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted, and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child, and be loved by the child. From our children's home in Calcutta alone, we have saved over 3,000 children from abortions. These children have brought such love and joy to their adopting parents, and have grown up so full of love and joy!"

We need to pray for the women that are vulnerable to this situation. Women contemplating abortion are overcome with fear and brokenness and deserve our love and compassion.

We need to pray for our country. We need to pray for these lawmakers and politicians...because one day they will stand before God with the blood of these babies on their hands. Our world needs mercy. The people that need mercy the most are the people that don't even know they need it!

I spent the first few days after hearing the news feeling such grief and shock. It's so easy to feel discouraged in the face of such darkness. But, we are not helpless or hopeless. My small part is to offer my prayers in love to God for these moms and dads, (because dads suffer, too), for the doctors and nurses, lawmakers and politicians...and then wait for his timing. I may be insignificant on my own, but God takes the little that I have to offer and uses it in big ways. My words or arguments aren't going to change a person's heart. It's God that changes hearts and minds.

In the waiting, I do my job and I work on myself. I live my life in the best way possible so that God's grace can flow through me and I can be a blessing to other people. And when I fail..multiple times a day...I ask for mercy and begin again.

In loving our families, in loving and supporting our friends and the people that God puts in our path, we create a culture of life that will allow light to break through the darkness.

"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace.
In the world you have tribulation, but take courage:
I have overcome the world." John 16:33 

St. Mother Teresa, pray for us!

Friday, January 11, 2019

More Courage Than Fear

I always feel a bit of that "after Christmas let down". By the time we get to the Epiphany, I am feeling an emotional mixture of sadness that the lights and decorations are coming down and relief because I'm overwhelmed by all the extras that the Christmas season brought...decorations + gifts under the tree + new Lego creations on the end tables + new games and puzzles on the dining room table + Holiday platters, dishes, an extra table, and folding chairs hanging around waiting to be put away get the picture.

I think it's equal parts grieving over the warm, fuzzies of Christmas and the intense desire to minimize the visual clutter!

I found myself wrestling with discouragement over the last week. I've taken some baby steps this past year in the areas of finances, exercising more regularly, trying to declutter, and being more consistent with my prayer life, particularly stopping into adoration multiple times a week even if it's just for 10 minutes.

I'm certainly not anywhere near meeting the goals I'm hoping to reach in any of these areas. Change and growth is a process that takes patience, fortitude, and especially, time. With the start of this new year and all this talk of goals and resolutions for 2019, I've been listening to a lot of negative self talk in my head.  Words that try to take away my hope and my focus. Sentences that start with a lot of "You're never going to..." and having to fight feelings of giving up before I've even given myself a chance in this new year.

Change that lasts starts out small. Forming new habits and sticking to them takes time. Keeping my eyes focused on the little victories is important. When that discouragement strikes it's because I've taken my eyes off of the step directly in front of me and I'm looking at how far away the goal line is. It's when I look at something that seems just so.far.away that the hopelessness of ever reaching it creeps in.

I'm like Peter...I take that first step out onto the water but then I look at the storm..or listen to the lies...and I start to sink. (Matthew 14:28-33)

Another stumbling block for me right now that is leading to discouragement is comparison. It's so ridiculous that I can be perfectly content one moment focusing on taking the small baby steps in front of me...and then I read another blog post about someone with goals that are so much bigger and more advanced and it made the baby step progress that I've made feel pretty pathetic in comparison. Ten seconds later, those feelings of wanting to give up just grow exponentially! I feel shamed by my lack when I see other people's success in their journeys.

I was really struggling with these feelings this weekend. Living with a constant feeling of being "less than" made me grumpy and blue.

I went to Mass on Monday and spent some time afterwards praying and journaling everything I was feeling. I realized that I had my eyes on the storm but I just wasn't sure exactly what to do about it.

On Tuesday, I spent a short time in adoration. I read the daily readings while I was there. The Gospel
for the day was the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. (Mark 6:34-44) I felt like my small hopes and goals are my small offering of fishes and's my opportunity to give what little I have to Jesus and allow Him to make a miracle out of it.

I have been focusing too much on my own lacks and inabilities. I need to bring all these doubts and negative feelings to God to see how He will transform them. I need to trust in His plan for me and focus on the things He puts on my heart. I need to focus on my journey and my progress...not on anyone else's path.

Like the quote says....
Image result for don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle quote

I also like what Lisa Brenninkmeyer says in a recent blogpost....."Ask the One who loves you to give you just a little more courage than fear."

More courage than fear...sounds like a good thing to focus on in 2019.

How are you doing with the areas you are focusing on this year??

Friday, January 4, 2019

And...That's a Wrap! Goodbye, 2018!

Happy New Year!
I am always amazed at how the last 2 weeks of December just whip by SO quickly! As usual, those two weeks were filled to the brim with parties, baking, cooking, more baking, more parties, and, most importantly, some really great family time.

I'm linking up with Kelly today and sharing some highlights!

1. Adventures In The Big Apple
Ellie's Latin Class took a field trip and I went as one of the chaperones. I've never been to New York City at Christmas and felt a mix of excited, (about seeing all the Christmas decorations it's famous for), and dread, (I'm not a city lover, get overwhelmed(and lost) easily when I'm in unfamiliar places, and crowds are not my thing.) But there was no way I was sending my child to New York City without me and Jay was out of vacation there you go! We had to get up at the unGodly hour of 3:45am to get ready and be at school for 5. It took us over 5 hours to get to the MET. We raced around the museum for an hour and a half to see as much as we could. We had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. Then we walked around the city until our meeting time of 545. Our bus got stuck in traffic so we waited in the rain for an hour before we got to leave and I pulled into our driveway at just after midnight. It was a long day! Here are some of my observations:
~Art is not my thing. I just can't appreciate all the naked statues the way the artists would want me to appreciate them. I walked around those areas of the museum and all I could think about was what my older boys would rename the art pieces and giggling in my head.( I mature, right!?! My apologies to the art lovers reading this!)
~New York City is like being in Disney World on the busiest day of the year except it's dirty and no one is having a Magical Day. There were even people in creepy Minnie and Mickey costumes that tried(aggressively) to get you to take a selfie with them and then force you to give them money. 
~Rockefeller Center is much smaller than it looks on TV.
~I let the 3 girls that were part of my group that I managed to keep together...not a fan of mixed groups just being able to walk off on their own and "check in" by cell phone occasionally....choose what they wanted to see. After Rockefeller Center, we spent time in the Nintendo store, got some pastries bc we were exhausted and needed some sugar, and then browsed in the book store and the library.(SO thankful I had some book lovers!) 
~My favorite stop was when I made the girls go into St. Patrick's Cathedral. It's BEAUTIFUL in there...and I would have loved to spend more time but one of the girls clearly wasn't interested. In the church, I searched around until I found Jesus and spent some time in adoration because I was desperate for a few minutes of silence!
~I am definitely a country mouse!

2. Our December Baby
My baby turned 7!! It's making me a little sad that Kate is getting so big and so much older! Being a December baby is really special...and also a little challenging for moms to make sure they get to feel special when Christmas looms so big. We had a family party and Kate requested a Trolls theme. My mil made another awesome birthday cake and Kate had fun playing with her cousins and being the center of attention. This little girl is just so incredibly loved and I thank God all the time that He blessed us with our compassionate, smart, sweet with a side of sass, bonus bonus baby. (and that's not a typo because Luke is our original bonus baby.:) 

3. Christmas Concerts and Cookie Baking
Kate and Luke sang in their school's Christmas concert and Nativity pageant, which is always cute. Peter's class also was part of a Christmas concert and potluck luncheon, which is always really touching. This year, multiple programs from the collaborative he belongs to joined in and it was just amazing to see the work all the teachers and aides put in with these beautiful children and how much they are loved and cared for through all of their very apparent disabilities. There was one little girl in particular that was very disabled. Watching her teacher and then her mom and grandparents with her was so emotional for me. My eyes "leaked" a few times. I was overwhelmed by the loving way they cared for her, and I also felt very grateful that Peter does not have any physical disabilities. Peter certainly has lots of challenges, but I think it was good to be reminded that there are always people that have more struggles than I do. 

Peter before the concert:)

4. Family Celebrations

We had lots of family celebrations over the course of a week! The Sunday before Christmas we hosted my Dad's side of the family. My parents did most of the cooking, and we provided the venue. Kate and Luke had fun with my cousin's young boys and the adults enjoyed catching up and a very tame Yankee Swap!

Christmas Eve was at Jay's sister's house with his parents and his sister's in-laws. We had lots of great food, lots of shenanigans, good company, and the kids enjoyed opening presents from Grandma and Grandpa!

Luke picked out this Patriot's pot holder at a local fair and bought it with his spending money bc he knows how much Grandma loves the Patriots!

Poor Ellie caught between the two biggest teasers!

Christmas Day was a really nice day! The kids always wake up super early..we were opening presents by 5:45. We go to 8am Mass...since we are up anyway and I love going to Mass on Christmas morning..and then back home for some family time and lunch prep. My parents, sister, grandfather, great uncle, and Jay's parents all joined us. This year I made prime rib for the first time ever! Jay got me one of those special thermometers that stays in the meat while it cooks and I think that was the key for me. It came out really good and the homemade gravy made with fresh herbs was awesome! I am so happy with the way it tasted...I was SO afraid that I was going to ruin such an expensive cut of meat!

During Mass, Luke looked so cute in his alter server clothes.
At one point, he was standing on the alter waiting to help and singing and he looked so darn cute that I wanted to take a video...but since it was in the middle of Mass, I just took a picture with my heart.<3

The afternoon ended with opening presents with my family and then just hanging out at home. Jay and I both had the day off after Christmas and it was so great to go to Mass in the morning and just hang out at home being lazy. The little kids were busy playing with their new toys and art supplies, and Jay and I spent most of the day laying on the couch watching Hallmark movies and napping. It.was.glorious!

We had one more Christmas get together with Jay's parents and both his sisters at our house the Saturday after Christmas. We all threw in for pizza, I made a salad and Jay's mom made cupcakes and chocolate cream pie. It was fun to spend time together and it was even better because I didn't have to cook anything!

5. New Year's Eve and 6. New Year's Day
We spent New Year's Eve at home with everyone but Mike.(He had bigger plans:) Our future daughters-in-law, their parents, one of their sister's, Andrew's friend, and 2 more friends joined our festivities. We had a gingerbread house competition that was a lot of fun! I put the pictures of our creations on Facebook and asked all my friends to vote for their favorite until 11pm. It worked out great.

We also had a "Banana Madness" competition...think March Madness brackets with the game, Bananagrams. I got the game for Peter for Christmas and some people in the family got a little obsessed with it. (me included:) So we picked up a couple more Bananagram games and we had a fun tournament. It came down to Andrew and Liz...and Andrew ended up being "top banana". We also played an easy dice game called Left, Right, Center that I borrowed from my coworker. That was really fun too! 

The games ended at 11:55 so we watched the ball drop, said "Happy New Year", then everyone left by 12:15 and it was a race to see who could get to bed first!

9am Mass came really fast, and we dragged our tired selves out to celebrate a special feast day: Mary, Mother of God. Jay had to work for a few hours because it was his holiday to cover, but he was home by one to have a late lunch at my parent's house for yet another party! (And many of us played more games of Bananagrams!:) 

I'm all partied out for quite a while!
This super cute scene was not the winner...ignore the numbers.(they were for voting purposes)

The 2nd place creation

Jay, Jon, Luke and Kate were trying to make a gingerbread ATAT. It started out well..... 

but ended in a hot mess! lol

This pirate ship made by Andrew and his friend, John, was actually my favorite for their creativity!
Note the elf mermaid with a shell bathing suit and the devil dog whale breaching next to the ship!
Santa walking the plank! lol
Introducing the winning gingerbread house made by Sarah, our future dil, Marisa, and family friend, Julie...they did an amazing job!

Look at this cute "front yard" the trees and the polar bear!

This was the back of the winning house...hand piping was done by Sarah and that clock is super cute!
7. Resolutions
My New Year's Resolution is to not make a resolution but spend time praying about the areas I feel God is inspiring me to work on this year. I know I want to keep exercising regularly and eat healthier...I mean, who doesn't after all the holiday food we consume in such a short span of time! There are 9 months until Andrew and Liz's wedding(!!!!) and I would like to feel good about myself in whatever dress I'm wearing on that special day. (I can't believe this is will be the year that the first of our children starts another branch of our family tree! It's so surreal!!

I've spent the last 5 months of 2018 finally being more purposeful with our finances. It's been a positive experience and I want to keep stream lining and moving forward. 

I've also spent the last 5 months of 2018 reading more on minimalism and trying to cut down on the clutter that gets in our way but isn't used. I'm looking forward to more purging and organizing in 2019!

I want to read more in 2019. I love to read but don't spend enough time doing it. So, less scrolling on my phone and more time with books is definitely a goal I have! I placed two books on hold at the library and will be picking them up on Saturday!

Mostly, I want to spend 2019 trying to listen to God's still, small voice inside of me and live each day in the way that still, small voice is drawing me. 

Well...there was nothing quick about these "7 quick takes"! Thanks for sticking it out to the end!
I hope 2019 is off to a good start for you!