Wednesday, March 27, 2013

And they will know we are Christians . . .

by our love . . .

(Now, unfortunately I have that song stuck in my head!)

For me, it started on March 14, the day after Pope Francis' election.  And it has only been heightened by the events surrounding the Supreme Court and the same sex marriage debate.  I have seen more than my share of ugly comments floating around the world wide web over the last few weeks.  There are "Good Catholics" who harshly criticize the Pope for his ugly pectoral cross, his "Low mass", the lack of lace.  I have read how he will destroy the Church (really?).  Then this week I have read way too many hateful comments from people who call those who want marriage to remain between a man and a woman, bigots.  I have read comments, of those trying to protect marriage, that tear down the dignity of people who think marriage should be redefined.

And I find it strangely ironic that this is all happening during Lent and Holy Week.  The time when the ONE who showed us how to love, suffered and died on the cross because of our sinful nature and the hatred of those who did not understand HIS message.  Praise God He Rose and crushed all of that!

I cried this morning as I prayed about this.  All this spewing of hatred and disrespect.  It is times like this that I just want to up and move to the mountains and ignore society, all of it.

But, that was not the way of Jesus, was it? 

We are called to love. 

There are two things I hold very dear.  Respect and Love.  My parents taught me to respect all people.  No matter if we agree with them.  Not matter if they are different that us.  Not matter what.  Respect all people.  I am not quite sure how they did it so well, and I pray that I can teach my kids that same lesson half as good as they did to me.

And my faith.  My Jesus. Taught me to LOVE.  Oh, dear Lord, if only I could love a a tiny bit like you did.  But I strive too.  I really do. 

We need to look no further than HIS example of love.  He loved everyone.  He ate with the sinners and tax collectors.  He spoke to the woman at the well, a women shunned by society.  He did not condemn the woman caught in adultery.

"Neither do I condemn you; go. From now on sin no more" John 8:11

Jesus was first and foremost a servant who engaged the culture.  Who called out the sinners and the Pharisees in their sin.  But HE could do this.  He could transform hearts because HE IS LOVE.

In a very imperfect way, I am trying to say, through all of this hate and criticism, that we are, I am,  focusing on the wrong things.  There are babies in a orphanage, abandoned, who do not even cry anymore, there are millions of women in China who have been forced to have abortions, forced into sterilizations, there are families and children around the world, in our own country who do not have shelter, do not have food, who go to bed hungry every night.  And I wonder why we are wasting words on hatred, when we should focus on actions of love.

The only way we can make this world a better place is not by our words on Facebook or trying to fight an argument on our blogs.  The only way we give our words power is by first living LOVE in action.  What good could I have done with the time I spent giving attention to the negativity, if I chose to turn away from it and used that time for something else?

As I enter into the Triduum, I pray that I can know the depth of HIS love and love just a little bit more like HE did.  So that I , and maybe a few others too, may know that there is a better way.  That there is so much more than this world offers.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

With An Open Heart - A Book Review

This book review was a long time in coming.  I first have to apologize to Lisa Murphy for that!  Lisa, the author, graciously sent me a copy of the book waaaay back in November, right after the Run for the Little Flowers.  But, the review is finally here!

With an Open Heart is a true story about the Murphy family and their adoption journey with Daniel, a precious and amazing boy from China.  I am not going to give you lots of details about the story, because I do not want to ruin it for you (go read the book!), but this story is a story of God's will, faith, and the ability to walk the hard road of faith with so many unknowns.  The Murphy family brought Daniel home in January, 2010, and, due to his heart condition, he went home to his Father in heaven in May of that same year.

I loved this book.  First, it was real.  Lisa is so easy to identify with and her writing style seems almost conversational, so you feel like you are sitting down talking to her and she is telling you her story.  I love the fact that this is about adoption.  And not about adoption on our terms, desires and wishes, but following God's will.  I enjoyed the stories of their Gotcha Day and their time travelling in China. As someone who hopes to do that soon, it gave me a good perspective on the time and the emotions that you feel during it all.

But what I loved most about this book was the Murphy's family's faith and their love for Daniel.  Daniel, was a special boy, and that fact jumped out at me through the pages.  But, Lisa and her husband Jimmy were inspirational.  Through their whole journey; from the days of home studies and filling out adoption paperwork, to their days in China, and finally their days in the hospital, praying for Daniel's recovery, their faith did not waiver. I smiled with Lisa as she met Daniel for the first time, and I cried with her the day she prayed for God to let Daniel's pain end.  And I rejoiced with Lisa as their family, once again, said yes to God and the journey of adoption after such a loss.

Yes, this book is GOOD.


So, please support this great work!  Go here or here to buy it.
Thank you Lisa for the opportunity to read and share your story!

(The Murphy family is an amazing Catholic family. They reside in Florida with their daughter Madi and son Charlie, both adopted from China.)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Habemus Papem!

“We are enclosed in a narcissistic and consumerist prison...The real power is love, that which empowers others, that which arouses action, that which no chain is able to hold back, for even on the Cross or on the death bed one is able to love. One does not need youthful beauty, nor recognition or approval, nor money or prestige. Let love simply bloom… and it is unstoppable.” ~ Pope Francis (Buenos Aires, May 2013)

As I mentioned before, I was so excited about the Conclave.  I watched the Cardinals take their oaths, and I watched as the doors of the Sistine Chapel were closed to begin the Conclave.  I became a "chimney watcher" and made sure I watched anytime smoke was expected. 

So, when Wednesday afternoon rolled around, I began to get the live stream video on the computer all set up.  While setting it up a friend called.  I joked about teaching the smoke stack and how we should see black smoke in about 15 minutes.  I was convinced it would be black, so I was not watching closely while on the phone with my friend.   Anyways, I have a habit of walking around the house while on the phone (so that the person on the phone does not have to hear my boys being boisterous in the background).  As I was walking through our living room, I glanced at the computer. Smoke.  It looked white.  Then I saw the bells ringing! WE HAVE A POPE!!  I started to freak out a bit and told my friend, "Wait. I think we have a pope! WE HAVE A POPE!" I quickly turned on the TV, yelled to my boys, "We have a POPE!" and started to cry. 

After a few minutes of remaining on the phone, I got off so I could call my hubby, who, of course already knew, thanks to the Pope Alarm  . . . he was in the "viewing room" at work . . .  yes they had a room at his work with EWTN on all the time, so the staff could watch for smoke.

The boys and I sat anxiously around the TV to see who would come out on the balcony. You all know, I had my favorite.  Truthfully, I just thought that the Cardinal we would see walk out on the balcony would be a younger, more charismatic Cardinal.   I guess I envisioned another "JP II - like" Pope.

After waiting for, what felt like a long time, the lights came on in the room by the balcony and someone peeked out . . . .total tease. And finally, the announcement came, "Habemus Papem!"  I strained to hear the name announced.  There were about a dozen names I thought I might hear, was prepared to hear.  Bergoglio?  Not one of them.  My first thought was, WHO?  My second thought, "He is old."  I was even a bit startled by the name he chose, simply because we had not had a Pope Francis yet.  I would not say I was disappointed, but a bit deflated.

We watched him walk out on the balcony and then ran to the car since my oldest was already late for Cub Scouts.  We listened to Pope Francis address the crowd over the radio and suddenly, I thought, "I like him."  He seemed so peaceful.  I started to cry when he asked for our prayers, and actually paused to have everyone pray for him.  He had me at that moment.

And, I have a deeper love and appreciation for him today.  As the stories of him surface, his words, and homilies, I think he is amazing.  I love that he has a degree in Chemistry (I have one in Biochemistry!). And that, as Cardinal, he cooked for himself and lived in a simple apartment instead of a the palace and (seemingly as Pope now too) he rode the bus.  He advocates for the poor. He is a true servant.

And I LOVE why he chose the name Francis . . .

“Some people didn't know why the Bishop of Rome wanted to call himself 'Francis'. Some though of Francis Xavier, Francis de Sales, even Francis of Assisi. I will tell you the story. At the election I had the archbishop emeritus of Sao Paulo next to me. He is also prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Hummes [O.F.M.]: a dear, dear friend. When things were getting a little 'dangerous', he comforted me. And then, when the votes reached the two-thirds, there was the usual applause because the Pope had been elected. He hugged me and said: 'Do not forget the poor.' And that word stuck here [tapping his forehead]; the poor, the poor. Then, immediately in relation to the poor I thought of Francis of Assisi. Then I thought of war, while the voting continued, until all the votes [were counted]. And so the name came to my heart:: Francis of Assisi. For me he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who love and safeguards Creation. In this moment when our relationship with Creation is not so good—right?—He is the man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man … Oh, how I wish for a Church that is poor and for the poor!”

 God knew exactly what our Church needs in this moment.  I think Pope Francis will "shake things up" in a good way.  I truly pray that, as with his namesake, he may rebuild the Church.

Habemus Papem!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

7 Quick Takes - After the White Smoke Edition

Thanks, Jen, for hosting!!

I have a Pope Francis post coming. If you want the gist of it, read Mary's post  . . . my reactions were somewhat similar to hers.  The only differece is is that I got to watch it when it happened. The short version of my post for here: LOVE him, so excited, he is so peaceful and humble.


I do not get all those who do not like Pope Francis already because he prayed in Italian and not Latin, or because he did not wear the stole.  I do not get it at all, and I find it frustrating.  I wonder if these people would have been offended by St. Francis too . . . . probably!!

If someone does understand it, please explain it to me.


I broke my Lenten fast from Facebook for the last few days.  And I have realized I get most of my news from it.  Other than a priest friend, who is in Rome right now, that sends us links to great articles, etc about Pope Francis, most of the articles I have read have come from links from Facebook.  And I like that . . . . someone else is doing the searching form me!

Bennett needs a family. 

I am breaking away from my Little Flower Picture this week and sharing this little guy.  He is with An Orphan's Wish.  I am shocked that he still does not have a family.  Please spread the word about him.  To find out more information, go here.


This weekend last year,  I ran my second marathon.  I have lots of thoughts and feelings about that and how far away I feel from that accomplishment.  There are days that I feel like I should take the 26.2 sticker off of my car. And, I wonder if I will ever be able to run a marathon again.  I guess there are seasons for everything, but I am sad that I cannot do, right now, what I could do last year.
I love my family.  I love my husband and my kids. TONS.  And I think we have something really good.  I am not sure why family life feels so natural and good for us when so many struggle, but I feel incredibly blessed this week!
OK, I lied.  I am sharing some Little Flower Cuteness.  I am sharing twins, Bo and Tao (again). Can you tell that I love these little guys!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A few random thoughts for Tuesday

1.  Waiting to see white - I am giddy excited for the Conclave.  I have been lifting up prayers throughout the day today for the Cardinals and the Conclave.  I will be honest, I am still hoping for a long shot  . . .
 . . .but praying that HIS will be done and that all are docile to the Holy Spirit.  The Cardinals have a heavy task and it is our duty, our privilege to lift them up in prayer.

2. The Conclave -  If you want more information on how the conclave works, watch this video . . . it is GREAT.  I love how it truly highlights that this election is guide by the Holy Spirit and how serious the Cardinals take this task.


And if you want live streaming of the events in Rome, got to Salt and Light TV!

3. Adoption- My thoughts are swimming here and I feel "knee deep" lately.  When the time is right, I will share more.  But for now, I will share with you a wonderful interview, with my "crush" (it just makes me like him more!)

I love his honesty and I truly believe more of us are called to adoption, we just need to open our hearts and our ears to God's calling.

                                                             Happy Tuesday!

Monday, March 11, 2013

5 things

  Over the past two weeks, I have been tagged by Susan @ Sole Searching Mama, Mary @ Let Love Be Sincere and Mary @ Better Than Eden, so I figured it was time to jump on the band wagon and write the post . . the only problem is is that each tagged me in a totally different type of post! So, I combined all three . . . I am giving you one random fact and I am answering 4 questions from the other tags!

1. Something you would not know about me.

OK, I am going to share something I have NEVER shared before.  The only person that knows this story is my husband.  And I have never shared it because I never wanted to be thought of as one of those girls who went to Steubenville to get her "MRS degree" (You Stubenville gals know what I am talking about).

Anyways, months before meeting my husband, I felt God calling me to pray for my future husband.  Mind you, I was prepping for the MCAT to go to medical school . . . getting married anytime soon was NOT in MY plans.  But, I prayed for him anyways.  At some point, I felt led to pray a novena to St. Joseph for my future husband.  And, yep, I met my husband on the very last day of the novena (outside of daily mass at Christ the King).  I thought nothing of the "coincidence" at the time.  It was not until a few months later, when I started to like my husband, that I put two and two together! 

2. Name something you have done you never thought you would do.

If someone were to have told the 20 yr old me that I would : marry someone who worked for the Church, be a stay at home mom, and homeschool . . . I would have told you that you were crazy.   I would never have envisioned these things for my life.   But, I love it all and would not want it any other way!

Oh, and running a marathon . . . although I always wanted to do one, for some reason, it is not something that I actually thought I would do.  And I still do not really consider myself a runner.

3. What are your favorite things to do?

I love just being with my family.  I love going on hikes and trips. I love reading to the boys and having them all huddled around me.  But, I love being away from them all too . . . . for long, long runs! 

I also love watching the BBC versions of Jane Austin classics, over and over again!  I love talking about faith and I LOVE praise and worship.

4. One of your life goals.

I would LOVE to start a ministry with my husband and have that be our "job".  We loved doing ministry to marriage prep and married couples and we really miss giving talks on married life.  I would also LOVE to write a book some day.  I am not sure anyone would read it, but I think it would be so neat to go through the process and work so hard on it and finally see it in print.

Oh, and I want to travel to Rome, Assisi and Venice.  And China ;-)

5. Who is a person that you KNOW (in real life) that you currently admire most.

This may sound cheesy, but my husband!  The longer we are married, the more I love and admire him.  He works so hard for the family and for his job.  He is an incredible father and an even better husband.  And, I love that he gets to do so many cool things in his job too.  He is faithful and strives to do whatever God is calling him too.  And he has a great sense of humor that always makes me smile!

Since this post is such a hodge podge, I will not tag anyone specifically, but if you are reading this, consider yourself tagged!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

WIWS- #2

I am joining the ladies at Fine Linen and Purple again for WIWS
We are having a BEAUTIFUL day here. The weather is just gorgeous and I cannot wait to finish this post and get outside for a run! 
Unlike last week, I did not plan my outfit today nd, 5 minutes before we had to walk out the door, I had to find something quickly that looked decent. So here it is . . . 

Sweater:  Merona from Target
Tank top under sweater: Merona from freecycle!!
Skirt: I have no idea . . . apparently I have had it so long that the tag is GONE!
Boots: Walmart

Most of my wardrobe is black, so you will be seeing lots of black over the upcoming weeks!  I blame it on the fact that I grew up in a house full of Golden Retrievers (my parents raise and show them).   I did not own any black clothes until after I graduated from college because it was hard enough to make lighter colored clothes look golden-hair-less . . . black would have been impossible.  So, since that time I have gone a bit overboard on the black (plus, it is slimming, right?).

Have a great week ladies!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Pope Alarm

I do not have a smart phone and therefore cannot check the web wherever I am, so when someone sent me a link to the Pope Alarm site, I was very excited.  The Pope Alarm will send you a text or email when there is white smoke!!  Go here to check it out!

And, do not forget, the Conclave starts on Tuesday, so offer up lots of prayers and sacrifices for the Cardinals and the Church.

Friday, March 8, 2013

7 Quick Takes

Thanks, Jen, for hosting

1. The next Pope?
I got an email from my hubby this AM with the title "The Next Pope".  It was a forward from a friend of ours that is currently in Rome.  This was the picture attached . . .

Anyone want to guess who this is?? (Disclaimer: This is all in fun!)
2. I need a goal, people, please help me along!
I am floundering right now.  I have no real physical/exercise goals set for myself.  And it is affecting my workouts. I am a bit half-hearted right now. I am in desperate need of a goal.   Here are my limitations:
-I can only run every other day or else I torque my back
- My hamstring is better, but I still cannot do any heavy lifting, so things like Crossfit are OUT
-  I do not want a weight loss goal
I could run a 5K or maybe even a 10K, or try something totally different. 
Any thougths??
3. A book a week
While I cannot seem to set goals for myself in the arena of exercise, I came up with another goal for myself.  I am going to read a book a week.  And I will probably even write a review of each book.  I am excited about this since I seem to have a little problem . . . I love to buy books.  If you were to see all the books on my nightstand in the "I need to read pile," you would be shocked.  I am reading Desperate right now and I really like it.  It is challenging me in a lot of ways.  Here's hoping I work hard to reach this goal.

4. Kids say the darndest things
Sometimes the things that come out of my boys' mouths astound me.  One night at dinner, my 9 year old, said,
"I wish I were an adult already."
When I asked him why, he responded,
"Because, then I could get up at 5AM and read Scripture."

Um, really?  My 9 year old, who I have to drag out of bed wants to get up early and read the Bible?  I was simply amazed that he would even think of that.  So, I told him that, if he wants, he can do that now.  He does not need to wait until he is an adult.  So, we settled on 6AM.  We will see if he will actually get out of bed and do it now or wait until he is an adult ;)

5. MOB Society
I love the Mother of Boys Society and website.  There are some great prayers on there for you to pray for your boys!
6. They do not make them like they used to
I loved this show growing up.  I had read all the books at least twice and I have seen most episodes of Little House on the Prairie about 5 times.  We are currently reading the Little House series to our boys, who LOVE them. So, when I saw the DVDs at the library, I grabbed them.  And, over the last few weeks, we have seen several episodes. And, I just have to say, that they do not make quality TV shows like that anymore.  The shows are filled with great moral lessons.  The Ingalls family is loving toward each other and they make family life a priority.  The value of hard work is clearly conveyed.  It is a great show.  I really wish there were more modern shows like this.

7. Little Flower Cuteness
Because my 7 quick takes would not be complete without it!
Little Qui

Have a great weekend everyone!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Papal Rap

My hubby's cousin and her daughter wrote a cute rap called the Papal Rap.  I am really trying to spread the word about it, so please take a moment to watch!


Sunday, March 3, 2013

What I wore Sunday - My first!!

I decided to join the party!! I am linking up with Fine Linen and Purple for What I Wore Sunday.  I was excited about this and last night I pulled apart my closet and my drawers to figure out what to wear.  I wanted to be slightly creative and wear something I do not wear all the time, because I usually wear the same thing most Sunday.  Do not worry, I did not make too much of a mess . . . 3/4 of our closet is actually taken up by my husband!
So here it is . . .


First, I am not sure what I am doing with my hands.  I think I am saying, "Please just hurry up and take the photos because we may be late for mass."  Ignore the books strewn on our floor . . . the boys seem to forget we have a book basket to put them in.

For the outfit:
The dress- The Limited (I have had this dress for 15 years!)
The jacket- Came from TJ MAXX
The scarf- AC MOORE (with a 50% off coupon)
I have boots on, but you totally cannot see them.  And that is a good thing, because I cannot remember where I got them.

And here I am with my cutest 4 yr old!!  He is sporting some of the sharpest hand me downs we have! Seriously, we have not had to spend much money on clothes for the boys AT ALL, thanks to some amazing families in our town.

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, March 1, 2013

7 Quick takes - The real quick, not quite 7, version

Thanks, Jen, for hosting!

I cried yesterday. A lot.  I cried through the whole TV coverage of Benedict leaving Rome.  I went to adoration.  And cried.  And when the priest, at mass this morning, mentioned the pope and said the word "emeritus," you bet I teared up. 

My kids are praying that Cardinal Dolan becomes the next Pope.

 Is it wrong that I am not discouraging them?

I got to go to the Chris Tomlin Burning Lights Concert last Friday with my SIL.  We were in the "nosebleed" section, but it was an AWESOME concert.  What a great worship experience.

Who would you want to see in concert?

I totally want to join the WIWS link-up, but feel way out of my league.  All you ladies wear such beautiful outfits.  And, I am totally embarrassed to admit that (1) some of my clothes is so old I do not remember where I got it (2) Much of my clothes is hand-me-downs, come from a thrift store or (gasp) freecycle . . . yep, my face is red right now and, finally, (3) You would be seeing the same clothes over and over (and over) again . . .
Someone make me feel better!

I totally broke my Lenten fast from facebook to bring you these cuties from Little Flower Projects
These are twins Bo and Tao.  Lift up a prayer for them.  They have been pretty sick and just got out of the hospital.

Have a great weekend everyone!