Sunday, December 16, 2007

Advent 2007 Letter

Dear friends and family and strangers,

I bid you tidings of peace and all good!

2007 unrolled with some big changes for our family
On Jan 4th Grandpa Ben departed Earth for eternity at the throne of Grace. He was 95.

In March Mike and I sold our north Raleigh home of 23 years and moved to North Durham. Our new home is encircled by a river and a golf course, so hopefully the car dealerships will not find us this time. Mike spent six weeks on his back in the early part of the year with a back injury. He is better now(except for his blood pressure and cholesterol). These are the adventures of being almost 50.

We enjoy taking long starlight walks on the golf course with our dog, Cabo.
In June ours sons joined us for a Disneyworld vacation with extended family.
September brought us the birth of our grandson, Joseph Patrick aka Joepa who has added to our joy wrought by 17 month old Shelby.
Kristen and Jeff are parents to Shelby and Joey and live and work near Wilmington,NC.
Mike the son lives in Raleigh and works at NC State.
Matt graduated from NC State this spring. He lives in Raleigh and works at NC State.
Mike and Matt are good sons loyal to their parents’ needs.
Ben is a sophomore at Belmont Abbey. His wrestling season was cut short by a knee injury that required surgery. He is currently “rehabbing”. He has of late been attending to the bedside of his sick cousin and his cousins siblings who live in Denver, NC near Charlotte and Belmont Abbey.

Thanksgiving was at my house this year but not by my design. The plan had been for Mike and I to travel to NY. We were to spend the first part of the week in Cherry valley with Mike’s family and the later part of the week with my family in Allegany. We had a party planned for my parents’ 50th Anniversary on 11/23. Just prior to the week of Thanksgiving we received word that my brother Jim’s son, our godson, Andy was diagnosed with a malignant inoperable brain tumor. Within hours the decision was made to cancel the party and move Thanksgiving to my house. Andy’s care is being provided by Duke, so he was in town. Over the four day weekend 27 people slept in my house. we fried 3 Turkeys for thanksgiving. The 50th Anniversary dinner was at Golden Corral, the cake was yellow with chocolate frosting(really good), and the finale was a stroll through the Walmart down the streetJ We joked about being Jeff Foxworthy material. It was a peaceful time of grace and thanksgiving for one another.

Circumstances such as these illuminate the priorities in life. None of us really knows what the morrow will bring. Now is the only time that we are assured of. Now is the time to live, to love, to laugh, to cry, and most of all- to pray. God willing our prayer for a miracle in steadfast faith be granted.

In this season of grace, may the Peace of God, which surpasses all understanding guard over your hearts and minds in Jesus Christ. Phil4

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!


Andy’s website: site name: andykosmala

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Santa Wars

It seems that, unfortunately, we mothers feel the need to fight amongst ourselves and align ourselves with one part or another over the tradition of Santa at this most exciting time of year as we prepare for Christ's birth.

Don't think you'll find a rant here one way or another, there are other sites for that, instead, let us teach our children to be respectful of others beliefs. Isn't that what Jesus would do?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Please, God....

Dear God,
All I want for Christmas is healing and recovery for my Godson, Andy.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Miracle This Thanksgiving

As I stated in an earlier post, a member of our family is ill.

My cousin, and Lynn (my mom)'s nephew and Godson Andy was diagnosed with an inoperable, malignant tumor on his brain earlier this month. To read more about his illness and Andy you can go here.

Despite all that has happened, Andy is one of the most amazing, positive kids. He is only 12, but he if you read his journal entries on the website, you see there is a much older soul present. Although we live just a few hours apart, Andy and I see little of each other. Through his illness, God has given us the miracle of being reconnected.

This morning, on the Today show, they were profiling St Jude's Children's Hospital. There is a possibility that Andy may get some treatment at St Jude's and it has always been a favorite charity of mine. One segment was of a little girl who is receiving a bone marrow transplant. As her mother fought back tears, she explained the surgery, while miraculous, was also scary and she was afraid that all would not go according to plan. At this point the little girl interrupted her mother to tell her not to be scared because, "St Jude will take care of me."

Yes the wonderful doctors and nurses at St Judes will care for her, as will St Jude in heaven. The miracle is not only a surgery that could cure this little girl, but of her faith that no matter what, she will be taken care of. And that is Andy's miracle this Thanksgiving as well.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


As if we didn't already know many of its benefits, now we know this about breastfeeding. It is always reaffirming for a mother to know she's doing her best for her kids.


This year, our family has much to be thankful for.

Our little girl turned one.

Our son was born.

My husband found a good job and is making great progress in school.

We have family that loves and cares about us.

Thanksgiving is a great time to remember all the blessings God has given us. It is also a time to realize that sometimes, God's direction seems contrary to us.

Our cousin (Lynn's nephew and godson) has been ill recently. His illness is fairly extreme, but I will limit the description to that at this point to protect his privacy. He is only twelve-years-old. Of course, when we hear of a child having an illness, we all think, "Why would God do this?" Who could be thankful for this?

A co-worker of mine's son was gunned down a month ago in town. His mother is a woman I adore who is friendly, sweet and a wonderful mother. Why did God allow this to happen to her?

This Thanksgiving, I am not only thankful for the obvious blessings, but for the blessings of all the people in my life, because God can call them home all too soon.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Can You Believe My Mom Did This To Me?

Sometimes as mothers, we have to embrace change. Everyday we raise our children we do that as everyday we watch them grow older, smarter, braver, you know. Today, Joey tried the Bumbo for the first time (on the floor, not on the counter or table top!). And he really seemed to enjoy himself.
He is almost six weeks old.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Building Our Cathedrals

I awoke to find this in my inbox, for all mothers in the world:

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.

Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?" Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?"I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?"I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30, please."I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.

She's going ... she's going ... she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean.

My unwashed hair was pulled up in a clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this."It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."

In the days ahead I would read - no, devoured - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

(1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.

(2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.

(3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

(4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it." And the workman replied, "Because God sees." I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there."As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

God Bless You as you build your Cathedrals!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Happy Birthday KrisTaBelle!!!

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine...."
The post may be a day late, but the wish and prayer made it inperfect time.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Happy 21st Ben

May God's blessings be yours all the days of your life.
Hang tough, be good, do well.
I love you.

Jacob was left there alone. Then some man wrestled with him until the break of dawn. 26 When the man saw that he could not prevail over him, he struck Jacob's hip at its socket, so that the hip socket was wrenched as they wrestled.
27 The man then said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob said, "I will not let you go until you bless me." 28 "What is your name?" the man asked. He answered, "Jacob." 29 Then the man said, "You shall no longer be spoken of as Jacob, but as Israel, because you have contended with divine and human beings and have prevailed." 30 Jacob then asked him, "Do tell me your name, please." He answered, "Why should you want to know my name?" With that, he bade him farewell.
31 Jacob named the place Peniel, "Because I have seen God face to face," he said, "yet my life has been spared."
Genesis 32:25-31.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Praise Sister Death, Later if you please, My Lord.

On Wednesday, October 4, on the feast of St Francis, cartoonist Tom Batuik put character Lisa Moore to rest . Lisa succumbed to breast cancer. As I mentioned in my 8/5 entry(, the storyline has captured my heart because Lisa Moore is someone that we all know. She is a mother.

As a Lover of God, a wife, a mother, friend and a nurse I have come to a peace and understanding with Sister Death. I have grown into that peace over 49 years of talking to God about it. Just when I think I’m pretty cool about it, I run into a few kinks. Kristen is the mother of two beautiful babies. Babies need their mothers and fathers for shelter, nurture and most importantly to show them the face of God. I’m not so cool about young mothers like Kristen leaving children behind. If the truth be told, I’m not cool about my mom leaving me, but it’s a reality that I accept knowing that full communion with Our Creator is our ultimate joyful homecoming

As a result of Mr Batuik’s storytelling he notes in his blog that awareness has been raised and a national fund raising venture for research will bear Lisa’s name: “The Lisa’s Legacy Fund for Cancer Research and Education”. Mr Batuik and King Features will contribute the royalties from the publication of Lisa’s Story: The Other Shoe to cancer research. Mr. Batuik enjoys the fruit of joy by virtue of the fact that he took a risk in using his God given talent in the funny pages. Well done Mr Batuik.

Our patron St. Monica and Our Blessed Mother lead us as mothers of prayer for our children Let us together pray for our own children and the children left by the untimely departure of their mothers. Let us pray for ethical research. Please prayerfully consider financial contributions and when the occasion arises, care for the sick.

Rest in Peace all faithful departed mothers.

May Thou be praised, my Lord, for our sister, bodily death,
whom no man living can escape. -Francis of Assisi

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Our New Little Catholic

Joseph Patrick, "Joey," "JP," or "Joe Pa" was born September 21, 2007. He weighed 7 lbs 4 oz and was 19 3/4 inches long. He was named for St Joseph and St Patrick and according to his uncles "the" legendary coach from Penn State Football. He is our little gift from heaven.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

"Beloved: Let no one have contempt for your youth, but set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity." 1Tm 4:12

It is not easy being a young person today. In any society. In any religion.

If you live in the Middle East, you are either being courted by a national military or a radical, violent group.

If you live in Columbia you are being courted by right-wing paramilitaries or left-wing rebel groups.

If you live anywhere in the world, you face peer pressure and doubt.

Child soldiers, suicide bombers, drug experimentation, sexual exploitation-- when did the world decide to become so difficult for people in the most volatile time of their young lives?

I often cringe if I hear an older person criticizing the youth for things such as not holding a door open for a lady or having one too many earrings or orange hair. If these are the worst things you can find wrong with someone (and they are all superficial) you are lucky.

I have even heard these things said in plain earshot of the "offender" who was volunteering at a church function or charity event.

I'm not saying all young people need to be given a pass. But when we read St. Paul's letter to Timothy, it doesn't say anywhere that you have to model through physical appearance but through, "speech, conduct, faith and purity." So, before you criticize a teenager or person in their early 20s for receiving communion in jeans, remember, they have made it a point to receive this gift from God. And their conduct is modeling a good Christian life.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


It's a beautiful Greek term meaning love for one's fellow man. It is something, that as a mother, I want my children to learn.

In the readings for today is the very familiar verse from St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians in which he extols the virtue of love. It is so familiar that I have seen eyes glaze over as it is read at weddings and people gently sway to the rhythm of it. That's part of the reason I chose NOT to have it read at my wedding.

When I was in college in a class on literature, this was one of the selected readings. Of course, many in the class brought up how beautiful it was to hear at weddings and how it was a perfect rendering of romantic love. Then the professor brought an alternate reading. What if Paul was preaching to the Corinthians agape? A few lightbulbs went off.

Am I patient or kind because I love this person? Or do I show my love for my fellow man when I am patient and kind? I'm sure the answer is both/and.

Do we really think of that though when we hear St. Paul's Epistle read? For many of us the answer is no. Maybe it's just that it's an ingrained part of those Catholic and Protestant weddings. Or just that we never think more deeply about the reading.

Today, I practice St. Paul's teaching. I practice agape.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


You Are Mine

I will come to you in the silence
I will lift you from all your fear
You will hear my voice,
I claim you as my choice
Be still and know I am here

I am hope for all who are hopeless
I am eyes for all who long to see
In the shadows of the night, I will be your light
Come and rest in me

Do not be afraid I am with you
I have called you each by name
Come and follow me I will bring you home
I love you and you are mine

I am strength for all the dispairing
Healing for the ones who dwell in shame
All the blind will see, the lame will all run free
And all will know my name

Do not be afraid I am with you
I have called you each by name
Come and follow me I will bring you home
I love you and you are mine

I am the word that leads all to freedom
I am the peace the world cannot give
I will call your name, embracing all your pain
Stand up now walk and live

Do not be afraid I am with you
I have called you each by name
Come and follow me, I will bring you home
I love you and you are mine

copyright David Haas

We all resist the idea that we are not in control of our lives. After all, God gave us free will. And for those of us American, the idea that we will live free or die trying, is ingrained.

Lest we forget, free will is a gift. In David Haas' hymn "You Are Mine" God "claims (us) as (his) choice," an idea that no matter what, God possesses our souls. But when we use that gift of free will we come to recognize that God is "the word that leads all to freedom." It is only when we surrender the control to God that we are truly free.

And that is the comfort of this hymn.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Message to carry in the Heart

Be Not Afraid
1. You shall cross the barren desert, but you shall not die of thirst. You shall wander far in safety though you do not know the way. You shall speak your words in foreign lands and all will understand. You shall see the face of God and live.

R. Be not afraid. I go before you always. Come follow me, and I will give you rest.

2. If you pass through raging waters in the sea, you shall not drown. If you walk amid the burning flames, you shall not be harmed. If you stand before the pow'r of hell and death is at your side, know that I am with you through it all.

3. Blessed are your poor, for the kingdom shall be theirs. Blest are you that weep and mourn, for one day you shall laugh. And if wicked men insult and hate you all because of me, blessed, blessed are you!

~Bob Dufford, S.J.

This is one of my favorite hymns. I think of it often when I feel alone in the world. I think of it when all else in my life seems to be in chaos. I think of it when I am scared, anxious or nervous. And as I await the birth of my son, I think of it often as a promise from God to this little unborn soul.

Our Beanstalk Died

It's not really a beanstalk, but it was getting SO tall, I was beginning to wonder what my husband had traded for it.

This massive plant, which I have no idea what it is, has been growing outside our front window for a little over a month. In a huge thunderstorm late Friday night, it began weeping. Then, yesterday, as I was typing up some homework for my husband (I know, I'm a wonderful wife) I heard a snap sort of like when you crack a joint and it snapped in half.

I thought of several things. I thought of the tower of Babel, being built so high as if to reach heaven, only for God to bring the people down to size by changing their languages. It also reminded me of Daedalus and Icarus, men who wanted to fly, only to get too close to the sun.

It is always a good thing to have high ambitions, to attempt to reach ones potential and beyond, but we must always remember to give thanks to God for allowing us to reach this potential and not grow so high or fast that we forget what got us there.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I Once Was Lost, But Now Am Found

Today's Gospel often leaves some with a bad taste in their mouths. After all, as Jesus says there will be rejoicing in heaven for the one soul who repents, but for those who have no reason for repentence, there is no celebration. Kind of makes you wonder why we all try so faithfully to do the right thing.

But then I heard our priest's homily. He told us to focus on something else in the Gospel message. He told us to focus on the fact that what was lost was found. Immediately, I began to think of "Amazing Grace." The grace of God is in his forgiveness. No matter how we stray, He always allows us back into the fold. In the first reading, God wants to show his vengeneance and smite the Israelites that he had just brought out of Egypt because they were worshipping a golden calf. But Moses reminded God of his promise to Abraham to make his descendents as numerous as the stars. And on the behalf of the Israelites, Moses was able to ask and receive God's forgiveness.

Are we not all prodigal sons in some way? Maybe we don't attend mass or confession frequently. Maybe there is a divorce in our past or we have denied our faith in some way. But God always allows us back into his graces.

Our priest often givesn "assignments" for the week. This week's was one I would like to share. Think of a time when someone forgave you. And think of how receiving that forgiveness felt.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Our Lady of Sorrows


O Blessed Virgin Mary, Immaculate Mother of God, who didst endure a martyrdom of love and grief, beholding the sufferings and sorrows of Jesus! Thou didst co-operate in the benefit of my redemption by thy innumerable afflictions and by offering to the Eternal Father His only-begotten Son as a holocaust and victim of propitiation for my sins. I thank thee for the unspeakable love which led thee to deprive thyself of the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus, true God and true Man, to save me, a sinner. Oh! make use of the unfailing intercession of thy sorrows with the Father and the Son, that I may steadfastly amend my life and never again crucify my loving Redeemer by new sins; arid that, persevering till death in His grace, I may obtain eternal life through the merits of His Cross and Passion. Amen.

Mother of love, of sorrow, and of mercy, pray for us. (Courtesy of


Our mother of sorrows, with strength from above you stood by the cross, sharing in the sufferings of Jesus, and with tender care you bore Him in your arms, mourning and weeping.We praise you for your faith, which accepted the life God planned for you. We praise you for your hope, which trusted that God would do great things in you. We praise you for your love in bearing with Jesus the sorrows of His passion.Holy Mary, may we follow your example, and stand by all your children who need comfort and love.Mother of God, stand by us in our trials and care for us in our many needs. Pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen! (Courtesy of

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Sad Day

I really liked the country singer Mindy McCready. She was pretty, blond, and had a sweet voice. She had a really gentle smile and got engaged to Dean Cain with a gum wrapper/twist-tie engagement ring.

So it was sad to read today that she is going to jail for a year. Her life has spiraled out of control over the last few years with drug and alcohol abuse. She has been in abusive relationships after her engagement with Cain ended. She lost a baby in a miscarriage. In her pictures now, she appears sad, scared and alone. She was arrested for DUI. Hence her imprisonment.

Just as I was contemplating St. Monica's love for her son, Mindy McCready reminds me that sometimes, there just aren't enough mothers with St. Monica's love left in this world. This is what sets McCready apart from Britney Spears, who has a caring mother and father both desparate to help her. We all know about Brit's cutting her parents off, but like St. Monica, they are still there. I would like to pray that somewhere, on heaven or earth, Mindy's mom will find her way back to her daughter. Perhaps then, a healing can begin.

At the End of the Day

My c-section is scheduled for a week from today. I am looking forward to meeting my son. I am also at a loss for how the time went by so quickly.

My pregnancy was so different this time from the first time. No morning sickness. No blood clots in my eye. More sciatic nerve pain. Knowing the sex of the baby. Having a one year old to chase after.

One thing I keep reflecting on is knowing the sex of the baby. This morning, Jeff and I came to the conclusion as to why we found out the sex. Because we wanted to experience knowing that piece of information. And that experience, has convinced us we would rather be surprised.

I feel almost as if I have cheated my son of a little of the excitement of his birth. We were so excited to meet Shelby, to know this brand new person of whom we had no pre-conceived notions. I don't feel that same anticipation. In fact, I have felt a lot more anxieties as a result of knowing I was having a son.

"Will I be a good mother to a son?"

"As good a mother as I am to my daughter?"

"Will we be able to foster the closeness we desired for our children knowing that they are the opposite sex ahead of time?"

People told me countless times that it is important to know the sex of the baby so you can "be prepared." As Jeff said, "What did we do differently because we knew the sex? We bought a blue bouncy chair. That's pretty much it. "

We had already had the to circumsize vs not debate while pregnant with Shelby. We had enough yellow clothes and unisex outfits to get him through his first six months. Our nursery theme was specific to a child not a boy or girl, the way we would have done it regardless.

My mother feels that it is easier to connect with the baby if you know the sex. But that has not been our experience. Children are very strange to me, because you really know nothing about them when they are born. All you know is you love what you are given. So, it doesn't matter the sex of the baby.

I will say that during my first pregnancy the people who annoyed me the most were the ones who asked if I knew what I was having. Especially those who asked repeatedly when they knew we wanted to be surprised. It was a bullying technique to get us to find out. This time, though, those people have been replaced by the ones demanding a name. We have names narrowed down, but people want a name. The name. And unfortunately for the rest of the world. The Herrett Family--Jeff, Kristen and Shelby--have to meet their son/brother in order to name him. It's just the way it works in our house.

Now, all of this makes me wonder, at the end of the day how did my parents, and so many parents, and grandparents manage without knowing the sex of their baby and also many did not give out names. And the answer that it was because the technology wasn't there is only a part of the answer. They weren't pressured in part because people did not want to nor expect to buy personalized gifts for an unborn infant. At your baby shower, you got the basics, cribs, diapers, sheets, burp cloths, etc. Stuff that you needed regardless. People nowadays want to theme your shower and give you clothes (something most people waited for until after the baby was born in times of yore) and engraved or monogrammed items. My father commented, after Shelby was born, that when we (my brothers and I) were born, we just had a few white t-shirts and a couple of onesies to wear until about a week or so when gifts from friends and relatives came in. As a culture we were more patient, easier to appease, and perhaps more relaxed about life in general.

The most common reason I hear now for finding out the baby's sex is this: I'm too impatient and I need to plan. I think God conceals babies in our wombs for nine + months to help us learn the importance of patience and to let us learn the valuable lesson Jeff and I learned as we had our c-section in the middle of the night for Shelby: we move on God's time, not our time.

Don't get me wrong, if you want to find out, find out. But as we found, the grass wasn't greener. In fact it turned out to be brown, needing water, and brittle. So when we might be blessed with baby #3 don't be surprised we don't know the sex and we're not giving out names. Just use it as your own lesson in patience.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

How Did She Do It?

I often find myself wondering, how did St. Monica do it? I mean, how did she never lose faith in her son (St. Augustine of Hippo) when he was hell-bent and determined to live apart from the Lord. Wouldn't it just have been easier to say, he's a lost cause, throw up her hands in disgust and ignore him?

A lot of parents do that today.

My husband, who spent the better part of last year as a teaching assistant in the public school system, was astounded at the number of grandparents raising children. Men and women who had raised their own kids, worked hard, and now should be enjoying the "fun" part of parenting, were starting from scratch. These men and women have the love of St. Monica in their hearts.

I remember my mother telling me that when my brothers were at home as teenagers and were really pushing it, she would tell them, "The only thing keeping me from killing you is that you were a beautiful baby and I loved you so much when you were born."

St. Monica must have had a similar mantra.

Last night, I had a moment to reflect on how perfect the love between a baby and parents is. Jeff and I both bolted upright when we heard the baby wake up. Shelby does occasionally awake at night and go back to sleep. But something was different. As I got my glasses, Jeff came back down the hall.

"Is she okay?" I asked.

"She's not making any noise, I didn't check."

I had been fighting insomnia the better part of the night leading me to believe I might go into labor, so I decided I would check on her.

I opened the door and the stench of fresh vomit was in the air. I went to turn the light on and the poor baby had gotten sick all over her bed and herself. She was trying to go back to sleep.

She opened her eyes and seeing me stood up.

"I'm so sorry this happened," I told her, "Mama's going to clean you up and you'll be okay."

Jeff, hearing this over the monitor came back down the hall. As I removed her diaper and prepared to bathe her, he stripped her sheets, put them in the laundry and began disinfecting her room. While I was bathing her, Jeff came in to help. Shelby gave us a look of such trust and love as if to say, "That was kind of scary, but now my Mama and Daddy are here, and everything is all better."

She is doing much better this morning. But in that moment, I felt how perfect that love and trust is and I understood that in St. Monica's heart, she had these same memories and that is what drove her to help her son no matter what.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Rejoice and Be Glad

"Blessed are you who suffer and mourn, for one day you will laugh." ~Luke 6:21

Imagine you were blessed with a final gift from a loved one. You had a voicemail or a call saying, "Good-bye, I love you."

Now imagine, you never got that gift. Imagine you could not locate your loved one. You went to the site where that person was last seen. You called his or her name. You made a sign with his or her picture and the words: "Missing."

It was six years ago. For many it might have been yesterday. There is no time limit on suffering and mourning our losses. There are doubtless many widows and widowers who still sleep on their "side" of the bed. There are also many who may have found new love out of the ashes of disasters. There are probably many children who still call out at night from a nightmare to a parent who physically is no longer there to comfort them. There are others, who can tell you matter-of-factly that their father or mother was taken in the terrorist attacks.

But as Jesus promises, those who suffer, those who mourn, will laugh again. Although it is hard to think that one day, anyone who suffered such a loss would be able to feel blessed by it and be able to rejoice, one day that time will come.

"Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdensm and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." ~Matthew 11:28-30

Maybe Not Today...

but someday soon, the 21st at the latest. We will have a son. I have been experiencing contractions off and on but they all go away when I lie on my side and sip water as my doctor instructed me. I got a little worried this weekend, as the baby seemed to be moving about 1/2 as much as normal. But I have an overachieving child who has been moving about 10 times an hour. Normal babies move about 5 times at this late date in pregnancy. So, he is still above average.

The triage nurse on the phone told me to hang in there, not much longer. When everyone asks me if the doctor will take the baby early, I always answer, "I don't want him to be born sooner, I just want the 21st to get here more quickly!"

But just in case, I am finishing packing my hospital bag. We have made sure the mini-crib is ready. And every day we tell Shelby that she will have a baby brother soon. We have frozen quite a bit of food and have made arrangements in case he does come sooner than expected.

I got a lot of calls, emails and text messages yesterday as Tropical Storm Gabrielle churned off the NC coast. At our house, we got no rain, no wind, nothing. Which is good in case the wives tale turned true that when the pressure drops all the women go into labor!

No, I think it was a sign that we have to continue to be patient and vigilant. For just like our Lord, we know not the day or hour our baby boy will arrive.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

"Whoever does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple." -Luke 14:27

Do we carry our crosses? As mothers, it is sometimes easy to say yes. We face choices that are difficult in raising our families. Do I homeschool, Catholic school or public school? Do I allow my children sugary sweets on special occcasions, regularly, or not at all? Do we attend mass as a family or do we do split shifts?

But what about the crosses that are not so obvious as mothers. The crosses we often times confront as we are falling asleep at night or in the shower in a brief moment away from our families. Am I doing everything I can to raise disciples of Christ? Are my children growing up with too much secular influence because I allow them to (fill in with your own answer here: ___________)? Do I spend enough time with each of my children, respecting each as individuals and not just as a part of the larger family?

When we respect that these are our crosses to bear as mothers, we become disciples of Christ. Yesterday we celebrated the birth of our Holy Mother. As a human mother, no doubt she experienced doubts in her ability. And she knew she was raising the son of God! We don't get to see this in the Gospels very much. But then there was that little incident of Jesus getting left behind in Jerusalem. No doubt Mary realized then that this motherhood thing wasn't about to get any easier! But as the primary disciple of her Son, she became an example for us all.

Yes, motherhood is a joy. The greatest of joys. But it also brings on great crosses that we must bear to continue as Christ's disciples.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Offering It Up

I have been suffering from sciatic nerve pain with this pregnancy. Well, I did with my last one as well, but this is a whole different ball game.

My son has decided his most comfortable position is directly on the nerve causing almost constant pain that shoots down my leg. At times I am barely able to walk. This pain is exacerbated by having to keep up with a very active 14-month-old little girl. Tylenol does nothing. Lying on that side or the opposite brings no relief. The method I used to combat pain with my first pregnancy, sitting with a tennis ball pressing directly on the spot of pain on my back, has actually sometimes made it worse.

This morning, the pain was causing me to involuntarily cry. I couldn't stop. Shelby was playing on the floor, so I was lying down on my side sipping water, crying and trying to play with her as best I could. As I watched her decide which toy to play with next, it hit me.

"God, I'm offering up this pain for all the women who will never be blessed to become mothers. The women who would give up their lives to experience the pain I am in now."

Over and over again, I repeated it like a mantra. Within 2 minutes, the pain began to dull.

A few years ago, doctors were not sure if I would get to become a mother. A birth defect was preventing me from becoming pregnant, and the time we had succeeded, that same defect caused us to lose our baby. And the doctor suspected there may have been other times we had gotten pregnant and just lost our baby before we knew. I was going to have corrective surgery, but there were no guarantees. Six months later, we found out we were having Shelby. I'd like to think that some mother going through pains of pregnancy may have offered up her suffering for women like me. And maybe, my suffering, my faith, will help to ease the pain of another woman who is dealing with the same uncertainty I did.

Thank you God, for the gift of my children. I offer up my suffering for all those going through the pain of being childless.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Celebrating Christ's Love In Our Lives

"You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? The days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them and then they will fast in those days." ~Luke 5:34-35

A good friend of mine is fond of saying that when things are good, she prays less and thinks less about God. Not intentionally, it just happens.

Isn't that true of most of us?

Isn't it easier to pray when we know we need God?

How easy it is to forget that we always need God's presence in our lives. How easy it is to forget God when he is not the one carrying us and is walking beside us.

But then I read Jesus' repsonse to the crowd. And it makes me wonder. When we live in the moment of goodness in our lives, when we are in fact, without acknowledging it, living in the center of Christ's love for us, are we not also praising and thanking God by enjoying the bounty He alone has given us?

When I read this quote it makes me believe that I am celebrating the gift of Christ's love in my life when I play with my children or swim at the beach or even just enjoy a few minutes to myself to read a few pages of a good book. Jesus is saying to me that by enjoying the happy moments in my life, I am giving him praise. And when my soul thirsts for the Lord, then it is time for me to mourn my distance from Him.

Monday, September 3, 2007

For Labor Day

Want to know more about the Catholic Worker Movement?

How about one of its founders, Dorothy Day? You can read about her life and some of her writings.

On The Day We Salute Those Who Labor

Prayer to Saint Joseph for Success in Work

Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labour, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my many sins; to work with thankfulness and joy, considering it an honour to employ and develop, by means of labour, the gifts received from God; to work with order, peace, prudence and patience, never surrendering to weariness or difficulties; to work, above all, with purity of intention, and with detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account which I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all after thy example, O Patriarch Joseph. Such shall be my motto in life and death.Amen.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

"For everyone who exalts himself will humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted." Luke 14: 11

From today's Gospel is this message.

And what teaches us humility better than motherhood.

I remember recovering from surgery a little over a year ago, wanting nothing more than to go to sleep, but knowing Shelby had to nurse. I gave up my need and accepted that being a mother meant to ignore the pain in my abdomen and my breasts as my milk was coming in and let her latch on. I could have easily given in and demanded Jeff give her formula, but I let go of the luxury of sleep, and pain relief, and got up to nurse.

As mothers, we make ourselves the maidservants of our children and the Lord. God has given us the tremendous responsibility and joy of raising these amazing people. A friend of mine, Ann-Elise has the following heading on her web page: "He must increase, I must decrease"- John 3:30 . She has blogged about how parenthood is an amazing way for one to allow God to increase in our lives as we decrease. I believe that when we allow God to increase through being mothers, we accept the humility of our position. We allow God's grace to enter into our lives as we are accepting His will to become mother's and when we acknowledge the humility of accepting our position, we become better mothers.

"Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Luke 1:38
Mary accepting her role as the mother of our Lord is the most beautiful reminders that the mother who humbles herself to her role, will be forever exulted.

"Part of this daily heroism is also the silent but effective and eloquent witness of all those BRAVE MOTHERS who devote themselves to their own family without reserve, who suffer in giving birth to their children and who are ready to make any effort, to face any sacrifice, in order to pass on to them the best of themselves. In living out their mission these HEROIC WOMEN do not always find support in the world around them. On the contrary, the cultural models frequently promoted and broadcast by the media do not encourage motherhood. In the name of progress and modernity the values of fidelity, chastity, sacrifice, to which a host of Christian wives and mothers have borne and continue to bear outstanding witness, are presented as obsolete...WE THANK YOU, HEROIC MOTHERS FOR YOUR INVINCIBLE LOVE! WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTREPID TRUST IN GOD AND IN HIS LOVE. WE THANK YOU FOR THE SACRIFICE OF YOUR LIFE...In the Paschal Mystery, CHRIST RESTORES TO YOU THE GIFT YOU GAVE HIM. Indeed, He has the power to give you back the life you gave to Him as an offering..." John Paul II, Humanae Vitae "The Gospel of Life"

As JPII says, we do not get the recognition in the media or society that should be granted to women who make the sacrifice of becoming mothers and humble themselves to accept God's will. Again, we decrease, God increases and as we humble ourselves, we are exalted as women who walk in Mary's footsteps in heaven.

I once heard a midwife say that when you look into the face of a newborn, you are looking into the face of God. I have never heard it said better. And as we look into the faces of our growing children, as we decide to give of ourselves to make their lives better, as we humble ourselves to the will of God the Father almighty we are exalted in our place in heaven.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Gift

Ke'von is a gift.

He is a little boy at Shelby's daycare who is developmentally disabled. He is also the great-nephew of Shelby's teacher. Shelby's teachers and I have become close and shared our lives over the past year. While they are not her parents, they do a tremendous amount in helping us to raise her to be a good person. They are what I like to refer to as "partners" in parenting. And their partnership is not just with us but with all the parents and children they encounter.

As we have gone through the last year, we have shared with Ms. Nancy and Ms. Diane the trials of Jeff's job with autistic children, of our joy at finding out we would have a son, and many other things. But it was in sharing our decision to decline prenatal genetic testing, that we have found the most common ground.

When I became pregnant with Shelby I simply took testing to be part of the procedure. Until Jeff said no. His reason, "Honestly what difference does it make. This is still our baby. We still love him or her no matter what." And he was right. Of course that meant, in our litigious society, that we both had to sign numerous releases that we understood fully that we had declined testing for chromosomal disorders like CF and also Downs Syndrome.

But we were open to the gift of life God was giving to us. The life that He wanted us to take part in. When Babytalk magazine included in this month's issue a cover model with Downs Syndrome and an article about the joy of raising a child with this condition, I was amazed and thankful. So often, I have had to explain to people that if I was given a son or daughter with DS or MR or any other "disorder" I would have the same prayer I have with my "normal" daughter, that I be the best mother for him or her as possible. As Jeff recently told someone, "this is my son, knowing he has something "different" about him will never change that." In fact, we often share with others who question our decision that we would feel blessed that God trusted us enough to give us the gift of the joy of raising a child who is abled differently from other children.

That is not to say it will be easier or the same to raise a child with a disability in our world.

And that is where Ke'von comes in.

Ms. Nancy recently shared that her niece encounters many difficulties in raising one child with a disability while having two others without one. She mentions not being able to do something as mundane as take him to a movie. Unfortunately he is unable to sit and watch one. So, when she takes her other children as a treat, family members help out with Ke'von.

Ke'von, while often in his own world, is a relatively happy and friendly boy. While I know he cannot answer me, I always speak to him. I am not sure if he understands what I am saying or even who I am, but I do it anyway. Had testing been available for his condition before his birth, who knows if his mother would have accepted it or not? And who is to say she would have had the courage to accept this gift from God. But she has taken on the challenge whole-heartedly.

Recently, Shelby began to watch the Baby Einstein sign language videos. But before they were in our house, as she was eating one day, she signed "eat" to me. My exposure to sign language is limited, but it was a sign I recognized. We have never signed to her previously, so I sat in awe.

A few days later, I mentioned it at daycare. Ms. Nancy mentioned that Ke'von signed to eat often. Shelby had learned the sign from observing him. This little boy who has no concrete communication skills with most of the world had taught my daughter a way to communicate with me before her oral language skills could be fully developed. She can now sign "Mommy" and "Daddy" as well. She is on track developmentally as far as language is concerned. But the gift Ke'von gave our family when he allowed our little girl to "talk" to us, I can never completely comprehend.

Yes, God placed Ke'von in all of our lives as a gift. And that gift keeps on giving.

Friday, August 24, 2007

It's not Heat, It's Holiness.

The air conditioner repairman could not come out to make an assessment for four days and it would be a full week before our central air would be functioning again.
We are in the middle of a heatwave and a drought. We don't have screens in our windows.
The inside temperature hovered around 85-90 degrees F.
I opened the doors for an hour or so during the coolest part of the night and it dropped the inside temperature about 3-4 degrees.
I had a choice to make about how I was going to cope.
Many years ago my pastor, made a simple statement- perhaps it was a quote:

"If you desire holiness, you must seek holiness."

I do desire holiness.
I decided to embrace the circumstances with joy.
I chose to revel instead of suffer.
God has blessed us abundantly.
I sought the Lord and he answered me.
We were at work during the day.
We found an old window unit that kept the bedroom bearable.
We were able to sleep.
We had all we needed
with our Heavenly Father keeping watch.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hot Hot Hot

When Mike and I returned home from our "date" at "BODIES" the house felt warm. In fact,not only did it feel warm, it was flat out HOT. Our new air conditioner in our new house died. At 11 o,clock at night we just wanted sleep. But as with all things, God gives us a new perspective. Mercifully the humidity was not high and we have a ceiling fan in the bedroom. We don't have babies, so it was fine. We were better off than many folks. I slept on chair cushions under the stars- those same stars that Jesus gazed upon so many years ago. I slept well. I slept very well.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


From the first advertisement I knew that I wanted to see BODIES -The Exhibition. Mike, my husband, was not as enthused. I'm a nurse and he's squeamish. I was going- with or without him. In the end he decided to give it a try.

The exhibition was extraordinary. No matter how much anatomy and physiology I study and learn, I remain in total awe of the miracle of life. Under preservation, the specimens were not gory at all. Mike carefully read each and every caption. A shiver went through my body at the sight of a display of the cranial and spinal nerves intact and isolated.

I gave reverence to each specimen out of respect for the soul that they once housed. I pondered who they might have been. They were people. They got up in the morning, did their thing, and went to sleep at night- unless they worked the night shift. They were people like me with everyday lives. Some of them smoked, their lungs were black.

These people donated their remains to science that others might learn.

At the end of the exhibition Mike turned to me an said, "It's really amazing, so much has to go right. It's a miracle that we..... live.."

Indeed it is. With God all things are possible, especially life.

God Bless those souls who chose to display their earthen vessels in the wake of death as an illustration to the living of the miracle of life.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

From a Father to a Father

This week, my brother-in-law is staying with my father-in-law and step-mother-in-law (that's a lot of inlaws!) in an attempt by the family to help him get his life back on track. I will, out of respect for him and my husband's family's privacy, not divulge details.

However, my husband and his father spoke the other night about possible plans of action to assist my brother-in-law. My husband and his father share a very unique closeness built of some tough life experiences but also, I believe, in part because of something as simple as their birthdays being just 3 days apart.

So other night, when we sent my father-in-law a link to some information for Jeff's brother, it was only natural for his father to reply back not only with thanks, but with a heartfelt belated birthday wish and an apology because he forgot to mention the birthday when they spoke the other evening.

This is how it read:

I thought about it in the middle of the night last night but thought better of calling you to apologize. I know we were thinking about you on the 1st and very much hope the next year is filled with rewards which you so richly deserve. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SON. LOVE YOU.

Even more special is that I can see how proud my father-in-law is of his son as a father. And that is a true gift this birthday!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Prepare for Landing

The first and sometimes the only thing that I read in the news paper each day is the comic strips.

Of late, the first comic strip that I read each day is Funky Winkerbean, by Tom Batuik. Lisa Moore, one of the main characters is losing her earthly life to a recurrence of breast cancer. Lisa is quite a dynamic spirit. As an unwed teen she gave up an infant for adoption. She is an attorney, a wife, a mother and a friend. Her inital approach to this bout was to battle with chemotherapy. Lisa’s done this before, she knows what is in store. She closes her law practice temporarily and she contemplates her living will. She consents to a request by the son that she had given birth to that her identity as his birth mother be revealed. When it is discovered that the cancer has spread and is untreatable Lisa decides to stop the chemotherapy. “ I want to live the time I have left, not just be alive.” She states. The priorities begin to emerge: family and friends. Day by day, panel by panel She begins her dissent. “ I want to take walks with Les and play with Summer.” “ I want to see the leaves change just one more time.” She says goodbye to friends and meets her son. Her loose ends are being tied up. She emails her friends soliciting prayers of “all denominations”. She is approaching death as a new phase of life and she has chosen to revel in each breath.

Mr. Batuik has been criticized for this storyline. Personally, I think he’s a classic writer. Didn’t we all learn in school the relationship between comedy and tragedy?

I have most recently felt the loss of two women friends to cancer. Each friend was diagnosed approximately one year prior to her final day. In both cases, the circumstances under which we had become friends had changed, and neither was any longer a part of my day to day life. My communication was through occasional visits and emails. The progress of their illnesses and final days were a series of emails, weblogs and telephone trees. Not much different from a daily comic strip. I had to wait to find out what was next, I had to put it in God’s hands, and I marked time with prayer. Lots and lots of prayer.

Terri died first. Her character in life was noteworthy. She loved the Lord. She was a wife, mother and advocate for children. I will never forget the sight of her walking up the sidewalk to my house for my son’s graduation party. She knew several children who were graduating that year and she was quite ill at the time. I never expected her to make it. She had attended the graduation ceremony in the afternoon . At 8:45 in the evening she was forcefully willing one foot in front of the other in approach to my front door. She was determined to “make the rounds” and fulfill all ritual and obligation. I laughed out loud through my tears at the joyful sight of her. Thank God I got to know her.

Mary Ellen was different, but no less a character. She passed away on thanksgiving day. She loved the Lord. She had been a school teacher and mother to an adopted little girl from China. She touched many lives in many ways. I recall encountering a student of hers who implied that there wouldn’t be much for her to do in Heaven because she was better with the children who would most likely be somewhere else. I believe that to be a compliment. Praise God for the laughter she brought me.

In the more distant past. October of 1999 to be specific, my 83 year old grandmother, Lee , died of lung cancer . In her final days, despite her dementia, she insisted on being groomed and dressed so that she would be ready for the angels. Praise God for allowing me to be her legacy.

I Love them all even in death. They live in my heart and for knowing them I am a better person.

There is someone like Lisa Moore in each of our lives. Her story portrays a reverence for and dignity of life unto the end. Like Lisa, each of my loved ones was blest with the knowledge that their days on Earth were rapidly coming to an end. They were given the grace of a “prepare for landing” announcement.

May we each be blessed with the grace to live the rest of our days prepared for landing.

Peace and all good.

In the presence of the angels O Lord, may we praise your name. Ps 138

Saturday, August 4, 2007


We have been given a date for our son to arrive. September 21, 2007. And a time 9:30 am.

So now we are waiting.

And preparing.

And getting nervous.

And praying.

God makes us wait for any number of things. 40 weeks to have a baby. 365 days for Christmas. 16 years to get a driver's license. But it's those imprecise waits that really get to us.

How long before I meet my spouse? When will a new job open up that is right for me?

I remember reading a Joy Note from Sister Patricia once that stated her frustration that God created a desire to do so many things, but she could not accomplish them all at once. It was then that she reflected on how we want to operate on "our"time while God operates on His own time.

The date and time we were given is the longest we will have to wait to meet our son. If God's time is sooner than that, we accept that. And honestly what choice to do we have? Still there is a calm in knowing it is all under control, although out of our control.

This past week as we saw the tragedy unfold in Minnesota, we were reminded that we know not the day or hour when our Lord will come. Only that we must be ready. And that is what we are all waiting for.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Congratulations on these New Catholics!

To Rachel and Paul Balducci and their boys Elliot, Ethan, Charlie and August: a new baby boy on July 16th: Henry Ephrem. Check out his pix here!

To Ann Elise and Daver and their children Duncan and Marissa: a new baby boy on July 18th: Russell Tobias. Take a look at him here!

As for our new little Catholic, he is 3 lbs 3 oz and growing strong. We hope to soon be getting a date and time for his arrival. We have not settled on a name, we really need to meet him first, but he is very active and his sister now seems to have figured out that he is on the way.

Friday, July 27, 2007

St. Joseph, Pray for us.

Oh, St. Joseph,
whose protection is so great, so prompt, so strong,
before the throne of God,
I place in you all my interests and desires.
Oh, St. Joseph,
do assist me by your powerful intercession,
and obtain for me from your Divine Son
all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power,
I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most Loving of Fathers.
Oh, St. Joseph,
I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms;
I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart.
Press Him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me and
Ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath.
St. Joseph, Patron of departed souls - pray for me.


Wednesday, July 4, 2007

God Shed His Grace on Thee

Dear women of faith in this nation,

May we unite this day in prayer for our world sisters who do not enjoy the privileges that we have been blest with.

Let us shed ourselves of the useless energy that we put into debates and judgements on our neighbors
over their choices of schooling for their children,
or family sleeping arrangements,
or breast feeding versus bottle feeding,
or mom's employment outside of the home,
or material possessions.

Let us put our lives and cares in the presence of God and seek discernment for ourselves. With our needs in the tender care of the Lord, Our God, our way will be made clear and our spirits will know peace. We must support, encourage and pray for one another. We must ask for God's will in all things and trust in His perfect will for ourselves and others.

I beseech each of you to to bind yourself in prayer to those who do not rest in the blessings that we know:
The mother in Darfur whose pregnancy was conceived as a result of rape.
The mother in Afghanistan who risks her life by teaching her daughters how to read.
The orphans of mothers killed in Iraq.
The heartbroken mother in China who has abandoned her baby girl.
The migrant workers in our own country who live in horrific housing conditions.
The victims of human trafficking.
The victims of abortion.
The women who work 20 hour days making clothing sold in our country.
For all human needs.

Remember these souls and hold them close in your prayers. God loves them too.

The Good Saint said "with privilege comes responsibility." I stand convicted.

Let us not forget that
God so loved the WORLD that He gave his only begotten son that who so believeth, believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Jn 3:16

May the power of the Holy Spirit guide the leaders of our nation.

Peace and All Good to you this July 4th, 2007

Sunday, July 1, 2007

My First Real Mother's Day

will be this Friday, July 6, 2007. This will be the first birthday of my daughter. I look back at the trials and blessings of the last year and wonder sometimes how we overcame it all. God blessed our family with our daughter but also with faith, extended family, wonderful friends, and any variety of random angels.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

You Can Change the Way You Listen

Lynn Johnston has done it again!

Thank you Lynn for including Shannon in your strip. She is a wonderful addition and her message today to the kids who tease her is one all people should be wise to remember not only for people with disabililties, but for people who are less educated and people learning the language as well.

I am reminded of an African immigrant my mother and I encountered working at a local pizza take-out a few years ago. He told the story of people's impatience as he attempted to speak to them in English, which was his third language. If people changed the way they listened they would realize that here was a person who felt privileged to be in the US and was attempting to learn our language as a way to assimilate. These are the same people who are angered when Hispanic immigrants refuse to learn English.

If we all changed the way we listen to one another, perhaps we would find a better way to get along with one another. And as parents, we would set a better example for our children.

Friday, June 22, 2007


How do we teach our children to be kind, compassionate and caring people?

Do we read them stories of Jesus? Do we take them with us when we perform charitable acts? Do we speak kind words to friends, strangers and enemies alike? Do we model being this kind of person every day of our lives?

Pretty much you have to do all that and more.

Today I saw this. And I thank Lynn Johnston for being so open about how people who are different in any way continue to be treated.

My goal as a mother is not just to raise my own kind, caring and compassionate children, but to be a model of this to other children and adults as well. I hope that the children I raise here at home will be examples all their lives of how to treat others. It's a tall order, but the more of us parents that do it, the sooner our world will change....for the better.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Pray for baby Kaleb.

This video moved me to tears not just because I have a baby a few months older than Kaleb or because in a few months I will have a second but because I am a mother at all. I have to ask God why did this happen to this little boy? I know I will never have an answer to that question. And I know his parents will not either. But it is his mother's testament of faith that amazes me. The prognosis is not good, but she believes that God is guiding her family.

Remember, if you are tired or angry, put the baby down and walk away. Do not shake him or her even once.

And please continue to pray for this brave family.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I am in the desert.
New home. New City. New aquaintences.
New church, new community.
My 3 AM adoration hour became too challenging at 50 minutes away.
I am not serving in the music ministry.
I am praying. I am listening.
I am thirsting for my God.
I pray a perpetual rosary.
The rosary bracelet around my wrist bears a medal of Padre Pio.
I know little of him,
at Mass this past Sunday,
when I opened the hymnal
a postcard with a picture of Padre Pio fell out.
Written were the words:
"All of your prayers are heard and answered."
Thank you Padre Pio for praying in communion with me.
Thank you My Lord for hearing and answering my pleas.
I am affirmed.
My cup runneth over.
I need to find out a little more about Padre Pio.

Monday, May 21, 2007


We are out of our old house and into our new one.
It's a lovely house on a pretty street.
The neighbors are nice.
I keep wondering when I will be home.
It's not ingratitude,
It's just that when I am out and about,
and I think of home
I think of my old house.
The smells and views that gave me comfort.
I wonder what it must have been like for the Israelites during the Babylonian exile.
Perhaps we are all in exile in this life.
The rhythm of our earthly days
are the stepping stones
to home.
Peace and all joy to you.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

For those who have lost....

Dear Lord,
We ask for your graciuos blessing
upon the families of all of the victims
of the Virginia Tech tradgedy.
May you comfort their sorrows and grant them
the strength and courage to carry on.
We pray also for the souls of those whose earthly lives were ended.
May your mercy be upon us always.
We place our hope in you.
In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit,
Mary and Joseph,
Pray for us.
St. Monica,
Pray for us.

Friday, April 13, 2007


He is Risen.
He is Risen indeed.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Side Bar Review

Do you have several children? Are they all of the same sex? If you do, or even if you don't you'll love to visit Rachel and all the Balduccis over at Testosterhome. They are a house of mom (Rachel), dad (Paul), four growing boys and a new baby (sex not revealed until birth) due this summer.

Life is chaotic, fun and family-oriented in this home. And if you ever wonder how to hold back a son who wants to watch his brother's first confession because he "might want to be a priest" and would need to know what confession is like, there actually is an answer here.

Rachel is funny and poignant at the same time. Her writing style is very outgoing and conversational. When reading her work I feel as if she is telling me the story over a cup of coffee. I especially love when she shares some of her boys' artwork or notes.

Surf on over and check her out! I know you'll love her!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

A couple of years ago, my mother and I were sharing lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Southport when we heard the news that John Paul II had passed on from his earthly life.

When Shelby was born last summer, I purchased a John Paul (or Juan Paolo II) candle for her in the ethnic foods aisle of a grocery store.

And now, we proudly share the loveliness of John Paul II for all to know the man that so many of us felt might be pope for quite a long time and was.

After his death, I read an interview with Billy Graham where he mourned the passing of JPII whom he considered a close friend despite doctrinal differences. He also felt that one of the pope's greatest gifts to humanity was showing us how to suffer and how to die. I remember this interview with great affection and think of how right Reverend Graham was. Of all the things the Pope taught, the acceptance of God's will at the end of life and the embrace of the "life of the world to come" was one of the most amazing.

Just Like Us

When my mom talks about the couple that purchased my parents' home, the same thought always goes through my head, "They're just like us."

Never in their wildest dreams did they think they would own a home like that, and when we go around looking at homes, we often feel the same way.

They have a toddler and are awaiting baby number two. Now, Shelby is not a toddler yet, but we know the anxiety of having an increasingly active child and another on his or her way.

They are young professionals who boworred to their limit and then some to make their dream come true. And I can hear in my parents' voices that they worry about that despite not trying to. Just like parents' everywhere do.

When the realtors told my parents to "sell the house as is," they meant don't fix the hole my brothers put in the wall almost 10 years ago or the ceiling leak from the shower that had been present as long as I could remember. My dad couldn't live with that because, "people like Kristen and Jeff" could get over a bad paint choice, but those repairs would appear too daunting. So the ceiling and wall were patched.

I'm not at all surprised my parents sold the house to a couple just like Jeff and I. And this couple is not that different from my parents in 1983 either. When a bidding war unexpectedly broke out over the house, God must have allowed that to happen in order to let this family move into our old family home and show my parents how much they wanted it for their own. And once that was done, I know my parents feel better knowing the people who were just like us, just wanting a better life for their children and hopefully trusting in God that it will happen.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

They Paved Paradise and Put up a Parking Lot

If you loved the house so much, why'd you sell it? you ask.
Well I tried to put it in God's hands. I honestly didn't think anyone would want it.

When we moved in 23 years ago our little subdivision was surrounded by hundreds of acres of farmland and pine forest. There were hawks circling in the sky and covies of quail rustled through the yard. We awakened each morning to the coos of mourning doves. Those were the sounds. Occasionally a car drove by or a plane flew overhead, but for the most part, the only sounds were those made by the breath of nature.

For fifteen years, the changes were slow. When a grocery store popped up at the end of the road it seemed harmless enough despite the fact that it devoured 15 acres of trees. The farmland and pine forest sold. A school was built followed by hundreds of homes and townhomes.

The quail fled, the mourning doves left and the dominant sounds became those of cars and heat/air conditioning units. The 500 acres of pine forest across the street were burned to the ground from the inside out before local residents knew what was happening.

One sad morning when the forest was cleared, we observed two hawks atop one of our trees. They seemed shell shocked, and were reminiscent of the old commercial of the Indian with the tear in his eye.

Houses were piled one on top of the other. Walking my dog descending into that neighborhood the vision reminded me of the rooftops of London as seen by Peter Pan. The indigenous pine trees that bear sturdy deep roots were replaced by lovely ornamental trees that topple over at the slightest breeze and require four landscapers to ever so delicately restore and tie them into position.

What is the message here my dear friends?

ONLY GOD CAN GROW A TREE. They grow in His time according to His plan, not ours.

New people who move in do not feel the loss. They have no familiar knowledge of what once was. This is a good move for the family living in our old house. It will be a wonderful environment for their children and they will have more positive educational opportunities.

In letting go and moving on I am challenged and convicted to share the lessons to be learned.

I need not look far for God says it all in His Word:

"Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees" - Revelations 7:3

May the Grace and Peace of the Lord be with you.

Don't it always seem to go
that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone?
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.
-Joni Mitchell

Friday, March 30, 2007

It's done.

Well it's done.
Our house now belongs to another family.
It feels so unreal.
I always felt that God's grace saved that house for us.
Let me explain.
In 1983 I had just given birth to my third child Matthew, a preemie. On a house hunting trip, we found a home in the neighborhood that we liked, but the job situation was not yet secured. A few weeks later, the house had been sold. There were not many homes on the market. Our house was on the main road, with "for sale" sign in front of it, but it did not appear in the multiple listing book. (a real book back in the day). Defeated and driving back to Virginia, we drove past the house one more time. The sign was still there. We wrote down the agents number and drove to a pay phone to call our agent. (mobile phones were not a staple back then.) We sat in the car awaiting the return call from our agent. As it turned out, the listing agent was a neighbor. The sellers had moved on to Texas, and thier old friend had forgotten to renew the listing. We wrote an offer in the driveway and the sellers accepted.
The house was ours.
Held for us by the Lord.
We are ever grateful for the shelter it gave us and the life that happened within it's walls.
May God Bless the new family as they begin their new chapter.

A New Chapter

Dear Lord,
I give you praise and thanks for all of your grace and goodness.
Forgive me my sins.
Bless my bittersweet heart today
as we sign the papers
that transfer ownership of our
home, our haven, our sanctuary,
that place of familiarity and comfort for
the last 23 years and 3 months
to a new young family.
May the walls hallow the specters of family love.
May the angels guard and protect all who enter,
and may You Dear Lord, continue to bless us all
as we journey into a new chapter.
I ask through the
Name of the Father, and of the Son And of the Holy Spirit,

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Side Bar Review

Over at Mom to the Screaming Masses, Carmen is having a frank discussion about using the handicapped stall in public restrooms for children. You can read my response to it there (the long and short, I'm against taking my children into public restrooms and prefer to use malls that offer family restrooms so I'm not really for or against it, but don't feel that neither families nor the disabled should feel entitled to the stall and no one should expect NOT to wait).

Since finding Carmen's site a few days ago, I have been visiting frequently. Carmen reminds me a lot of my mom and myself. She does not make apologies for her parenting or her faith. She wholeheartedly believes in inclusion for public school, Catholic school and home schooled Catholic families. I have really enjoyed reading her take on life.
I hope you'll go and visit and see for yourself.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Side Bar Review

I've decided to do a few profiles of sites in our side bar.

I'm starting today with our most recent addition, Regina Doman's blog.

I purchased Regina's book Angel in the Waters while pregnant with Shelby and fell in love with the story. I later mourned the loss of her son Joshua in a tragic accident. I recently ventured over to her blog as I was thinking while I was pregnant I would love to know more about the woman who had written such a beautiful story of love and life.

Doman's blog is full of motherhood moments as well as Catholic ones. Her writing style is accessable and there is such a beauty to me in how she presents ideas. Her topics give me the sense she is a gentle and kind mother. Just the kind of woman who would write the book of an unborn baby and his angel.

I don't know how peaceful the web can make one feel in this high-tech fast-paced world of ours, but I have started visiting Regina's site to regain a sense of beauty, peace and refreshing insight. I hope you will visit and experience the same.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

A Few Words About my Friend Brownie

Brownie has been removed from our sidebar links not because of anything she has done or didn't do. Brownie is no longer blogging and deleted all of her old blogging material. She is a devoted Catholic wife and mother who has a child with autism. She has not given a reason for discontinuing her blogging, so I respectfully have not asked. Please offer up your prayers in case it is a difficulty in her life too great to bear that has caused her to stop. I felt that it was only fair to let people know why she was being removed. If she resumes blogging, I will post a new link.

That being said, I was recently added and then dropped from a friend's blogging links (for my other blog) because I work outside of the home and do not oppose public education and give it equal footing with home schooling. The owner of said blog that I was dropped from did not herself have an objection to my views or life, but one of her readers did and voiced the opinion repeatedly and loudly. Too bad. To that reader I offer you the option to comment on my posts both at my other blog and here. I feel your opinions are valid and would like you to express them. To more than just the owner of one blog. I may even add you to my side bar!

We are all Catholic mothers doing what is best for our individual families. May God continue to bless us all!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Our House is a Very, Very ,Very Fine House

Praise and thanksgiving to our gracious God and thank you St Joseph.
Our house generated a lot of interest with 19 showings in three days and 4 offers on the fourth day in which two buyers wanted the house. It was such a blessing to have such interest. The house is not as pretty as it might be, we had other priorities. But it's a good house, it's a fine house. I feel so blessed that so many people wanted it. I feel good in fact. The market is currently in a slump. I was humiliated when I had my real estate agent (and my friend) come through to give me advice on how best to prioritize the endless list of things that will improve the appearance. To my horror she came back and said "just keep it clean and de clutter so that people can see the space." I did as she instructed. I tried to accentuate the good points. I felt quite humble, perhaps a little embarrassed. I prayed. I bought a little statue of St. Joseph and placed it in the kitchen window. My husband and I have said the prayer every day since with our confidence and trust in God. Our closing is scheduled for march 30. We priced the house low with fairness in mind. I am reminded of the scripture that states "the last shall be first." My cup runneth over.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Youngest Grocer In America

As we all think of lent as a time of fasting and depriving ourselves. Let us not forget it should be a time of selfless acts and caring for others. We are all called to look out for our brothers. This is the inspiring story of how one young man did just that. His Father is heaven is smiling and proud.

Some Info for Lent

At her site: Danielle has an interesting thread about being pregnant or nursing and fasting.

And Rachel had a thoughtful post yesterday about abstinence and fasting while she's pregnant with number 5. (And check out her great picture at 15 weeks!)

My mom, ever observant, emailed all her kids today to remind us about abstaining and fasting. As a nursing and pregnant mom, I have been excused from fasting again this year. I am abstaining from meat and using my one to two servings of fish to substitute for protein and peanut butter sandwiches as well.

I am reminded that fasting is about devotion and so I am not feeling guilty about "breaking the fast." Instead I am giving God audience through careful attention to my daughter and also prayers for other young mothers in much more peril than I am.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Our house is a Very Fine House

It's a fixer upper and it's on the market.
It's priced low, a lot of house for the money in a desirable location.
It was my home for 23 years. I raised four children in that house.
It gave us shelter
and it's walls hallow the echoes of
our family joy, tears, hopes, fears, work, sleep and play.
Stories were told, songs were sung, meals were shared,
fights were fought and forgiveness was found.
Many a prayer was prayed.
Life and love happened.
That's how it goes for families.

It's time for us to begin a new phase of our lives in another city.

The house needs updating, but it's a good house.
St. Joseph was a carpenter.
Perhaps a young carpenter will find this house, buy it
adorn it with his family and make it beautiful.

I ask for God to send us a buyer for our home.
I ask him to bless him and his family.
I pray that love will abound in that house.
I ask for St. Joseph's intercession on my behalf
for grace for my family, and the speedy sale of my house. Amen.

For more on St. Joseph:

Monday, February 12, 2007

St Valentine

Now I know that the person of St Valentine is up for debate. I know he is more legend than fact. But I love the idea of a saint who watches over men and women who love one another romantically.

I have been married a few years now, so I realize just how romantic your spouse can be especially at 3:30 in the morning when he is calling you over the baby monitor for back-up because this poopy diaper is out of control. That being said, I have found over the last week as both Jeff and I have been sick we are probably more in love than we have been for a long time.

We won't be exchanging gifts this February 14. After all, when Shelby was born we gave each other the greatest gift God could provide.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

But what about those Dads

Danielle Bean is having a great thread at her site today. It's all about husbands and fathers. Which makes me think of so many of the saints who serve as great examples of fathers and husbands. I am reminded, of course, of St Joseph who raised the Son of God as his own. He trusted God enough to wed Mary despite how things "appeared." He found a place for her to give birth and knocked on endless doors, knowing what the answer would be, but trying for his wife and child. I am also fond of St Joachim, the father of Mary. Imagine the shock after the sadness of not having any children to finding out your wife is carrying the mother of our Lord. What an act of faith! This of course was not the first time something like this had happened--remember Abraham and Sarah-- but still it is a startling revelation.

I know I am cutting this list short, but there is a real idea here. Mothers are almost always better mothers with a father to back them up. We should not forget that.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Standing Up for Mothers Everywhere

Think beauty pageant contestants are all full of air....check this mother out. This is a woman who truly should be Miss America.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

St Angela Merici:

St. Angela Merici
Feastday: January 27
When she was 56, Angela Merici said "No" to the Pope. She was aware that Clement VII was offering her a great honor and a great opportunity to serve when he asked her to take charge of a religious order of nursing sisters. But Angela knew that nursing was not what God had called her to do with her life.
She had just returned from a trip to the Holy Land. On the way there she had fallen ill and become blind. Nevertheless, she insisted on continuing her pilgrimage and toured the holy sites with the devotion of her heart rather than her eyes. On the way back she had recovered her sight. But this must have been a reminder to her not to shut her eyes to the needs she saw around her, not to shut her heart to God's call.
All around her hometown she saw poor girls with no education and no hope. In the fifteenth and sixteenth century that Angela lived in, education for women was for the rich or for nuns. Angela herself had learned everything on her own. Her parents had died when she was ten and she had gone to live with an uncle. She was deeply disturbed when her sister died without receiving the sacraments. A vision reassured her that her sister was safe in God's care -- and also prompted her to dedicate her life to God.
When her uncle died, she returned to her hometown and began to notice how little education the girls had. But who would teach them? Times were much different then. Women weren't allowed to be teachers and unmarried women were not supposed to go out by themselves -- even to serve others. Nuns were the best educated women but they weren't allowed to leave their cloisters. There were no teaching orders of sisters like we have today.
But in the meantime, these girls grew up without education in religion or anything at all.
These girls weren't being helped by the old ways, so Angela invented a new way. She brought together a group of unmarried women, fellow Franciscan tertiaries and other friends, who went out into the streets to gather up the girls they saw and teach them. These women had little money and no power, but were bound together by their dedication to education and commitment to Christ. Living in their own homes, they met for prayer and classes where Angela reminded them, " Reflect that in reality you have a greater need to serve [the poor] than they have of your service." They were so successful in their service that Angela was asked to bring her innovative approach to education to other cities, and impressed many people, including the pope.
Though she turned him down, perhaps the pope's request gave her the inspiration or the push to make her little group more formal. Although it was never a religious order in her lifetime, Angela's Company of Saint Ursula, or the Ursulines, was the first group of women religious to work outside the cloister and the first teaching order of women.
It took many years of frustration before Angela's radical ideas of education for all and unmarried women in service were accepted. They are commonplace to us now because people like Angela wanted to help others no matter what the cost. Angela reminds us of her approach to change: "Beware of trying to accomplish anything by force, for God has given every single person free will and desires to constrain none; he merely shows them the way, invites them and counsels them."
Saint Angela Merici reassured her Sisters who were afraid to lose her in death: "I shall continue to be more alive than I was in this life, and I shall see you better and shall love more the good deeds which I shall see you doing continually, and I shall be able to help you more." She died in 1540, at about seventy years old. In Her Footsteps:
Take a look around you. Instead of just driving or walking without paying attention today, open your eyes to the needs you see along the way. What people do you notice who need help but who are not being helped? What are their true needs? Make a commitment to help them in some way. Prayer:
Saint Angela, you were not afraid of change. You did not let stereotypes keep you from serving. Help us to overcome our fear of change in order to follow God's call and allow others to follow theirs. Amen
Copyright (c) 1996-2000 by Terry Matz. All Rights Reserved.
St Marius:

St. Marius
Feastday: January 27
St. Marius Abbot January 27 A.D. 555 Dynamius, patrician of the Gauls who is mentioned by St. Gregory of Tours, (l. 6, c. 11,) and who was for some time steward of the patrimony of the Roman church in Gaul, in the time of St. Gregory the Great, as appears by a letter of that pope to him, (in which he mentions that he sent him in a reliquary some of the filings of the chains of St. Peter, and of the gridiron of St. Laurence,) was the author of the lives of St. Marius and of St. Maximus of Ries. From the fragments of the former in Bollandus, we learn that he was born at Orleans, became a monk, and after some time was chosen abbot at La-Val-Benois, in the diocese of Sisteron, in the reign of Gondebald, king of Burgundy, who died in 509. St. Marius made a pilgrimage to St. Martin's, at Tours, and another to the tomb of St. Dionysius, near Paris, where, falling sick, he dreamed that he was restored to health by an apparition of St. Dionysius, and awaking, found himself perfectly recovered. St. Marius, according to a custom received in many monasteries before the rule of St. Bennet, in imitation of the retreat of our divine Redeemer, made it a rule to live a recluse in a forest during the forty days of Lent. In one of these retreats, he foresaw, in a vision, the desolation which barbarians would soon after spread in Italy, and the destruction of his own monastery, which he foretold before his death, in 555. The abbey of La-Val-Benois *being demolished, the body of the saint was translated to Forcalquier, where it is kept with honor in a famous collegiate church which bears his name, and takes the title of Concathedral with Sisteron. St. Marius is called in French St. May, or St. Mary, in Spain, St. Mere, and St. Maire, and in some places, by mistake, St. Maurus. See fragments of his life compiled by Dynamius, extant in Bollandus, with ten preliminary observations.
St Avitus:

St. Avitus
Feastday: January 27
Martyr of Africa, possibly the St. Avitus venerated in the Canary Islands as an apostle and first bishop.
St Theodoric of Orleans:

St. Theodoric of Orleans
Feastday: January 27
Theodoric of Orleans (d. 1022) + Benedictine bishop, also listed as Theodoric II. Originally a monk in the monastery of Saint-Pierre-le-Vif, at Sens, France, he was named bishop of Orleans after a distinguished period as a royal counselor.
St Candida:

St. Candida
Feastday: January 27
Mother of St. Memerius and hermitess. A Spaniard, Candida was a recluse near St. Stephen of Banoles, an abbey close to Garona, Spain.
St Datius:

St. Datius
Feastday: January 27
African martyr with Reatrus and company, also a second Datius, with Julian, Vincent, and twenty-seven companions. They were slain by Arian Vandals.
St Devota:

St. Devota
Feastday: January 27
Virgin martyr of Corsica, France, who was slain on the rack. Patroness of Corsica and Monaco, her relics are in Monaco on the Riviera di Ponente.
St Emerius:

St. Emerius
Feastday: January 27
8th century
Benedictine abbot of France, also called Emerus. He founded St. Stephen of Banoles Abbey in Catalonia, Spain. His mother, St. Candida, lived in a hermitage near the abbey.
St Gamo:

St. Gamo
Feastday: January 27
8th century
Benedictine abbot of Bretigny, near Noyon, France. He aided the monastic expansion of the era and was a staunch patron of the arts.
St Gamelbert:

St. Gamelbert
Feastday: January 27
Parish priest of Michaelsbuch in Germany. He went on a pilgrimage to Rome, was ordained, and served more than fifty years as a pastor. His cult was approved in 1909.
St Gilduin:

St. Gilduin
Feastday: January 27
Canon of Dol, in Brittany, France, who refused a bishopric from Pope St. Gregory VII. After going to Rome to decline the honor, Gilduin died on his way home. His tomb became a popular pilgrimage destination.
St Julian of Le Mans:

St. Julian of Le Mans
Feastday: January 27
3rd century
First bishop of Le Mans, France. Tradition states that he was a noble Roman. Julian performed extravagant miracles and was honored during the Middle Ages as the patron of churches in England.
St Julian of Sora:

St. Julian of Sora
Feastday: January 27
Martyr of Sora, Campania, Italy. He was a Dalmatian who was beheaded in the reign of Emperor Antoninus Pius.
St Lupus of Chalons:

St. Lupus of Chalons
Feastday: January 27
Bishop of Chalons-sur-Saone, in France. Pope St. Gregory the Great corresponded with him. Lupus was a model of charity and cared for the sick and poor.
St Natalis:

St. Natalis
Feastday: January 27
A founder of monasticism in northern Ireland and a disciple of St. Columba, also called Naal. He served as abbot of the monasteries of Naile, Daunhinis, and Cill. A well in that region honors his memory.
St Maurus:

St. Maurus
Feastday: January 27
Abbot founder of Bodon Abbey, near Sisteron, France. He is sometimes called Marius or May. Maurus was cured of a serious illness at the tomb of St. Denis in Paris. He was a revered prophet.
courtesy of