The Story of Life

I will never forget seeing those two little blue lines for the first time.  Those blue lines gave me hope. They gave me comfort. They gave me a sense of peace.  I was pregnant.

We had been trying to get pregnant for ten months and finally, we were part of the “club”.  We were going to have a baby! We told our parents at 8 weeks and then a few close friends in the two weeks that followed.  It was an amazing feeling knowing that in a few short months we would be holding our sweet little boy or girl.

And then tragedy.  At my 10 week ultrasound I heard the words, “there is no heartbeat” followed by the words “are you sure on the timing?”.  I was sure. We were 100% sure. There was lots of discussion about what would happen next. I could return home and wait to miscarry or I could have a procedure done right then and there that would extract the baby from my womb.  While still in a state of shock, we decided to have the procedure done there in the doctor’s office. There would be no more pain, no blood and no waiting. There would also be a gaping hole in my heart. “Bad luck” is what I remember the doctor saying.

To say that the procedure was horrifying would be a drastic understatement.  As I lay there on the table with my feet in stirrups, wide awake, my doctor inserted a needle into my vagina to numb the cervix.  I was then injected with something to make my cervix expand large enough to insert a vacuum tube to suction out the fetal tissue. The numbing agent did little for the pain.  The sound of the vacuum pulling out the remaining hope that was still clinging to my uterus was unbearable. As I lay there, naked and without dignity, I could not believe what was happening.  All of those future plans that we had made were gone. Now, I must return home and tell the few family and friends that there would be no baby. This scenario would happen two more times, although I opted to miscarry on my own once and then have the procedure done in a hospital while I was anesthetized the second time.  Each time taking a little of my soul with it.

We were encouraged to seek fertility help after the third miscarriage.  Little did we know that before we would even see the fertility specialist, I would become pregnant for a fourth time.  With the help of medications, we finally saw a heartbeat at 6 weeks, 9 weeks, and 12 weeks! We could safely tell family and friends of the news we had been hoping for for the past three years.  Our future had been determined. We were going to have a baby.

Discussions in our household centered around “will we find out the gender?”, “will I breast feed?”, “should we have a baby shower?”, and “what will the name be?”.  So much hope and love for this little human growing within me. My life was changing. I was gaining weight, eating better (except for the taco bell cravings that I had), and I was starting to feel teeny tiny flutters within my belly.  Tiny kicks and punches that would eventually turn into huge rolls and feet protruding from my stomach. I remember waiting to feel a kick…waiting and hoping that everything was going to be OK this time.

I couldn’t wait to tell everyone the good news.  Strangers would come up to me at the store and want to touch the belly.  These same people would wish me luck and tell me how exciting it is that it was my first.  Co-workers would hear me giggle as I would feel every little hiccup from this beautiful child continuing to grow every day a little bit bigger, getting ready to meet the world.  Oh, how I loved this child even before I ever set eyes on her.

When I went for my 20 week ultrasound, we decided not to find out the gender.  We wanted it to be a surprise. I remember looking on the ultrasound screen and seeing this little being with 10 fingers and 10 toes.  The baby had a beautiful head, tiny little nose, sweet little ears, and best of all, the baby had her hands folded as if she were praying.  What a beautiful human being. At 20 weeks, it was around the time of March Madness, so we decided to create a tournament of names. Each night we would narrow our list of 32 boy names and 32 girl names until we finally had one of each gender decided on.  If the baby was a girl, we would name her Amelia. If the baby was a boy, we would name him Ryan.

A few weeks later, the plans continued.  We registered for our baby shower, painted the nursery, borrowed furniture from a friend, and began Lamaze classes offered at the hospital where we would deliver.  So many plans for our future child. Our love continued to grow for her every day.

As we got closer and closer to the due date, we met with the pediatrician who would visit her in the hospital, we washed clothes, setup the nursery and then waited.  We waited for that first labor pain. On August 5th, 2005, I felt the first sign of labor at around 1:30 am. We called the doctor in the morning as my contractions were getting closer together.  The doctor told us to meet him at the hospital after lunch. Finally, we would meet the sweet baby that we had been waiting so long for.

We arrived at the hospital at 12:30 pm and delivered our beautiful baby girl at 9:17 pm that night.  She was perfect; a sweet, tiny, beautiful angel sent from God to restore our hope and give us a reason to become better people.  We now had a child who depended on us. This child has given us a glimpse of our heavenly Father’s love. She brings us such joy every day.  She is like no other child I have ever encountered. I thank God for giving us her at the exact right time, God’s time, not ours.

God knows the perfect time for everything.  We may not know why or how, but His timing is perfect.  God knows exactly what we need when we need it. He knew that I needed to experience pain and loss to become the mother that I am today.  It is because of this pain, loss and redemption that I am writing this today.

I urge all women, young and old, to embrace God’s perfect timing and turn away from abortion.  I saw my daughter’s heartbeat at 6 weeks old. I felt her kick at 13 weeks. She had hiccups at 16 weeks.  She prayed in my womb at 20 weeks. She punched and kicked and rolled over in my womb at 24 weeks. She was always a baby, not a fetus, to all of those who already loved her way before she was born.  Choose life. Choose hope. Put your faith in our Lord that He will provide the way in His perfect timing. Every child is a precious gift from God at all stages of life. Life begins at conception. Hope begins at conception.  Love begins at conception. May God grant all women the courage to accept His Love, His Hope and the life He lays out before them.


“Talitha koum!”

Several months ago, I wrote this reflection for our youth group.  While I sat in Mass today listening to this scripture proclaimed as the Gospel reading, I wanted to share it once again.

Since writing this reflection last fall, our world has experienced so much spiritual turmoil.  The world needs healing.  If you ever need a little encouragement to “get up and live”, look to Jesus, see him in the Blessed Sacrament and know he is calling you to ARISE and live the beautiful life He has created for you.  You are a precious gift, a masterpiece, created in His image, and worthy of happiness, love and hope.

His Own has written a beautiful song that you should listen to right now and know His love is bigger than anything.  He will never stop seeking your face.  You can listen to it here.  Enjoy.


Based on Mark 6:21-43

It’s a beautiful day, sunny, warm, just a few wispy clouds in the sky.  There is just a small breeze that keeps you from getting too hot as you walk with your parents following a crowd down toward the sea shore.  As you walk, the crowd gets larger and larger.  There is so much excitement as the people in the crowd keep talking about a teacher who can heal people, a teacher who is coming to see those gathered here today!  

Just as you reach the shore and see the teacher getting out of the boat, a man pushes past you.  He is dressed in simple clothes, but you can tell he is important.  Your mom recognizes him as someone from the synagogue.  His face is sad, so distraught.  He seems anxious and scared.  He is seeking help from the teacher.  He reaches the teacher and falls to the teachers’ feet.  Begging, pleading with him.  His voice is full of anxiety.  You look around.  Others in the crowd are starting to look concerned.  What is happening?  Why is this man under such stress?  His face, his voice, he needs help.  Finally, he speaks to the teacher.  “My daughter is at the point of death.  Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.”

Now you understand.  He is fearful of his daughter’s life.  He truly believes the teacher can save her.  The crowd becomes more agitated.   The teacher takes the man by the hand and leads him through the crowd.  They are talking.  The man is pointing in the direction of his house.  Your parents and the crowd decide to follow them.  As you walk through the streets of the town, many people come out of their houses and shopkeepers look out their windows to see what is causing the commotion.  The large crowd begins to grow in size once more.  You want to see, you want to see the teacher and the man, but the crowd is pushing you back.  You let go of your mother’s hand and make your way zigging and zagging through the people until you are right behind them.  You can see them continuing to speak, the anxiety on the man’s face is almost too much to bear.  The teacher touches his shoulder and he immediately calms down.  

Just then, a woman pushes you from behind.  She has long dark hair.  She looks frazzled.  Her clothes are torn and tattered and there are tears streaming from her eyes.  She stretches out her hand as far as possible.  She needs to touch the teacher.  She needs to reach him.  She has one finger outstretched as people are pushing in on her from every side.  She speaks.  “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”  Finally, that one finger reaches the cloak.  Immediately, the look on her face changes.  She is calm, peaceful, happy.  

Something happened when she touched him.  What happened?  Who is this teacher?  Just then, the teacher turns around in surprise.  How did he feel that?  How did he know she touched him?  Her finger had barely reached the edge of his cloak.  He asks “Who has touched my clothes?”  I stop dead in my tracks.  It wasn’t me.  I’m nervous.  Is he angry?  I can barely breathe.  The woman steps forward, she is trembling.  There is a look of fear on her face.  She falls to her knees and tells him the story of how she has been afflicted with a horrible disease for twelve years.  She believed the teacher could heal her.  She just needed to touch him.  The teacher looks at her with such compassion in his eyes.  I sense a deep love for this woman.  He spoke to her at that moment saying “Daughter, your faith has saved you.  Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”  

While the teacher was speaking to the woman, there was a commotion coming from a group of people walking toward the man.  They say to him “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”  Immediately the man begins sobbing.  Cries of pain and anguish come from his mouth.  Everyone is stunned.  Gasps and cries go up from everyone in the crowd.  Immediately, the teacher holds up his hand to quiet the people and says; “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”  I look around.  People are confused.  They want to have faith in the teacher and what he is saying, but the girl is already dead.  What can he do for her now?  

We continue to walk up a hill to the man’s house.  People are standing in front of the house weeping, hugging each other, trying to comfort one another after having just lost their little girl.  I hear someone say the girl was only twelve years old.  That’s how old I am.  Oh no!  Do I know her?  My heart begins beating rapidly.  Fear creeps in again.

The teacher continues inside the house.  I sneak inside behind him.  Anxiously waiting to see what will happen.  The teacher says “Why this commotion and weeping?  The child is not dead but asleep.”  What?!?!  Family members approach him and ridicule him.  How can he say such a thing?  The girl is dead!  The family members are in such pain from her loss and this teacher comes in and chastises them saying she is only sleeping??  

The teacher takes her mother and father by the hand and leads them into the room where the girl is.  The girl’s skin is as pale as can be.  She is lying still, not breathing.  Her eyes are closed.  She doesn’t move.  I start to cry because I realize this is my friend.  She goes to school with me.  We sit together at lunch most days.  I will miss her dearly.  As I wipe the tears from my eyes, the teacher stretches out his hand to hold hers.  He then spoke to her saying “Talitha koum! Little girl, I say to you, arise!”

As if I was in a dream, her cheeks returned to a beautiful shade of pink, she took a deep breath and stood up.  Her parents eyes lit up with happiness!  They gave her the biggest hug you could ever imagine.  As they hugged her, they cried tears of joy.  She was alive!!  The teacher healed her!  He healed my friend!  Who is this man who heals the sick and brings the dead back to life?  I never want to leave him.  I will follow him always.



When did Life Become such a Burden?

I have been sitting in front of my computer for an hour wondering how I am going to write about this topic when all that surrounds me is a culture of death.  Everywhere you look, there are reminders of just how far our culture has moved and continues to move away from God.  The excuses for justifying abortion, euthanasia , and the death penalty are rampant among secularists and Christians alike.  How can this be?  When did LIFE become such a burden?  How can any person who calls them self a Christian support this type of behavior?  The sanctity of life is of the utmost importance at EVERY stage of life.

God created you.  He created you with a purpose in mind and He alone holds you in existence.  His infinite love for humanity allows each and everyone one of us to experience joy, hope, love, peace, anger, sadness, and disappointment.  We wait for the day when we will be taken from this world and carried into the next to spend eternity with God feeling only peace, comfort, and love beyond our understanding.  The timing of this is NOT for us to decide.

When I think of God, I think of love, hope, compassion, and forgiveness.  He is what helps me through each and every day.  Each of us is created in His image and likeness.  We all reflect God in some way to some one in our lives.  When God created us, he breathed life into our souls.  With this breath, a little bit of God entered as well.

When you look into the face of anyone you meet, look for God.  In the slight touch of their hand, in the smile on their face, in the tears rolling down their cheek, in the anger over an injustice, and in the disappointment over the loss of a loved one, He is there.  God is in the innocent infant, the poor, the elderly, the mentally ill, and the handicapped.  He is in the prison inmate, the murderer, the abuser, and the rapist.  He is there.  Sometimes it is hard to find God in someone’s soul, but He is always there.  There is always hope.

Hope is found in the unborn, the elderly, the sick, the dying and and the imprisoned.  Life is precious at every stage.  In this culture of death, I pray that those who can not see God in the most innocent, vulnerable, and at risk will have their eyes opened and will begin to see the hope in protecting and rehabilitating the souls of these precious children of God.

God sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to die in reparation for our sins.  As Jesus prayed in the garden, he prayed to have the burden of knowing the complete sinfulness of man removed.  Save Jesus the burden of the sinful culture of death.  Remove one of the thorns from His crown.  Console His heart and begin to love Him the way He loves each and every one of us.  God forgive us and restore hope in this world.  #AlfieStrong

The Judgment of the Nations.  Matthew 31- 46  “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me. ’Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

The Importance of Worshiping as a Family

As a child, I went to church every week.  There was no question. We went to Sunday School, which was not offered at the same time as the Sunday liturgy, and then we stayed for the church service.  We were there for at least 2 1/2 hours every Sunday. My parents attended bible study as my brother and I attended Sunday School and then we went to church and sat in the front left pew (I am a creature of habit, you will still find me there every Sunday) as a family.  We dressed in our Sunday best, many times had brunch after church, and started our day focused on Jesus.

I will readily admit there were days that my mom had to drag us to church as we got older.  Sleeping in until noon was a greater priority for my brother and I as we entered High School, but she encouraged us to go nonetheless.  Yes, there were out of town soccer games that would interrupt our going to the later service, but those days, my mom would just wake us up early, go to the early service, and then bring our clothes to change into so we could make it on time.  I am absolutely, 100% sure it was stressful for my mom. We were whining, tired, hungry, bored, lazy kids who didn’t want to be there, but we went. And those Sunday’s formed me into the person I am today. I believe all of that time spent in church eventually led me to search for the Truth which changed my path and brought me to the Catholic church.

Our current church has been going through some changes in children’s programming to enable families to worship together during Mass (elimination of preschool PSR during the Mass).  This past week, as I have had many of my friends calling me, asking me questions, getting angry, and expressing their views of the changes, I have been more acutely aware of the importance of worshiping as a family.  

During Holy Week, my family started the week visiting St.Anthony’s Chapel.  To see my kids interested in the 5,000 relics while at the same time being respectful, reverent, bowing every time they crossed the altar, and speaking in a whisper as they lit candles and sent up prayers for the faithful departed, I was reminded of the holiness that is growing in their hearts through their love of Jesus and the Eucharist (by the way, all of their actions were not prompted, they have simply learned how to act because we are at Mass and they know Jesus is present).

All three of my kids worshiped on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday and they were so good.  Yes, there may have been some arguing in the pew with their sibling, dropping of hymnals, and needing to go to the bathroom during the consecration, but they were there and they heard God’s word and felt his presence even if it didn’t seem like it.

I will never forget Easter Sunday when we were singing the “Alleluia” right before the Gospel reading and I hear this little voice, my five year old’s voice, singing the words as she was coloring.  It was like an angels voice, soft and sweet. That moment made me realize just how much she is learning by being in Mass. She is learning prayers, stories from the bible, and songs that she can recall in times of need, just as I did by learning the Lutheran liturgy in my upbringing, which I never would have done had my parents not taken me every week.  My daughter can’t read, but she is taking part in the most Holy sacrifice of the Mass, and there isn’t a week that goes by when she doesn’t ask “Mom, when can I have the Christ?”.

I look forward to the day she can receive our Lord and Savior; body, blood, soul and divinity.  But before that day comes, I find peace in knowing that no matter how stressful it is for a parent to get their kids to church on time and then expect them to behave, they are learning and growing in a deeper relationship with our Lord and seeds are being planted that will give them hope in the dark days that are yet to come.  

The Magnificent Burden of Sunday Morning

It is so easy to skip church on Sunday.  All I have to do is reach over, turn off the alarm and go back to sleep.  No more waking the kids up for the 7th day this week.  No more hustling them to eat their breakfast and get into their church clothes so we are at Mass on time.  No more worrying about what other people think of my kids when they are climbing all over the pew, dropping the hymnal, doing the dab in the front row, needing to go potty during the consecration of the Eucharist, or screaming because their sibling pinched them.  No more sweat running down my face as I look around at all of the other people in church with well behaved children or retiree’s with no children glaring at me as if I need to get control of my kids.  It is so much easier for me to just stay home, get up late, make a nice big breakfast (or better yet go out to breakfast), workout, and enjoy one of the only days of the week I have the opportunity to sleep in.

But that is not what Jesus asks us to do.  Look, I get it.  I really do.  I have three kids of varying ages.  My three kids are involved in soccer, choir, horseback riding, Pony Club, golf, and soon to be basketball and baseball.  The kids put up a fuss every Sunday about going, but in the end, they know it isn’t a choice, it is a commitment our family has made to God.  This commitment will hopefully instill the faith and hope that is needed to get us through to our final days where we will stand before God and the door will be opened for us to enter eternity together.

You might be saying to yourself “I never made church a priority and my kids are now older and they won’t want to go” or “My daughter wants to play Division 1 soccer and her games and tournaments fall on Sunday” or “The church we go to doesn’t offer child care/Sunday school during Mass and I have a very active 2 year old who won’t sit still” or any multitude of other excuses for not making church a priority on Sunday.  But let me ask you this, did you know that studies show that children who are not exposed to church have only a 9% chance of going later in life?  Did you know that within two generations your family will not believe in God at all?  That is a scary thought. Much scarier than my 13 year old’s wrath when I wake her up early Sunday morning.

So many of us view church as a burden.  The burden of getting up early.  The burden of having to explain to the coach why Mass is more important than a soccer game.  The burden of chasing our kids around the church.  The burden of sometimes dragging our teens kicking and screaming out of bed.  The burden of listening to a homily or music that we don’t like while at Mass.

This Holy Week we remember that Jesus died for us.  He died a horrible brutal death to save us from our sinfulness.  Every time he was kicked, spit upon, beaten, scourged, and chastised that was you and me.  Every single one of those blows has our names on them.  That is burden.

The burden that Jesus Christ carried to the cross is unfathomable.  All of my sins.  The sins of the world.  The people He loved then, turning their backs on Him.  The people He loves now, continuing to turn their backs on Him.  Don’t turn your back on Him.  Respond to his love.  Keep the Sabbath Holy.  Instead of using the words “It’s Sunday, we have to go to church”, use the words “It’s Sunday, we GET to go to church”.  And, most importantly, we GET to receive Jesus body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Eucharist.

In closing, I wanted to leave you with this reflection that I read yesterday in the Magnificat.  May this Easter bring you back to the Church to experience God’s love in the most intimate gift He left here on earth, the Eucharist.

Our Last Communion –  “He dipped the morsel, then took it and gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot.” —John 13:26

At Saturday’s Easter Vigil and in the next two months, many people, especially children, will be celebrating their First Communions. This will be the first time they receive the Body and Blood, soul and divinity of Jesus. These First Communions will be among the greatest events in their lives.

Yet what about your last Communion? Will it rightly be called “Viaticum,” meaning “on the way with Jesus” to heaven? Or will it be like the Last Supper when Jesus gave “the bit of food” to Judas (Jn 13:26)? “Immediately after, Satan entered his heart” (Jn 13:27). Will your last Communion be months or years before your death, or moments before your death and entry into heaven? Is Communion “kid’s stuff” for you, or the center and heartbeat of your daily life?

Tomorrow, we will celebrate throughout the world Holy Thursday, the day of the first Communion of all time. Make a new first Communion on Holy Thursday — the first time you’ve ever loved the Lord so much. If you continue and grow in the first love (see Rv 2:4) of this new first Communion, your last Communion will be a Holy Communion of love leading to heaven.




My Prayer Plan

As I sit down to write this, I take what feels like my first breath of the morning and feel relief.  I have been up since six o’clock this morning running around frantically to make it to a special event at my oldest daughter’s school, drop my son of at his school, run home to pickup my youngest to deliver her to yes, a third school, meet a friend to drop something off, and return home to meet a flooring guy about a quote.  It is only ten o’clock.  My best laid plans for the morning are shot.

How many times has this happened to you in your prayer life?  How many times have you told yourself, “Tomorrow, I’m going to spend quiet time (10, 30, 60 minutes) in prayer.” and then something unexpected happens?  I get it.  I’m a parent too.  I have three beautiful, spirit filled kids who keep me busy in ways I never thought possible.

For years I struggled with finding time for God.  For years I sacrificed my time with Him for everything else going on in my life.  But now, I make sure I spend time every day, even if only for a few minutes, with Him in prayer.

Here are my suggestions to helping you establish a prayer life that is beautiful, fulfilling, constant, and allows you to hear God’s voice even in the midst of your busy life.  Doing these things will not guarantee success, but they will help you succeed a little more each day.  Remember, this took me years to develop and I still fail from time to time, but my connection to God has brought me to a place in my spiritual journey that I never thought possible.  It has changed my entire outlook on faith, love, suffering, joy, acceptance, and the quest toward holiness.

Go to Mass/Church – There is simply no better way to spend time with our Lord in prayer than at Mass.  The Mass is one long prayer.  When you are in Mass, you hear God speak through scripture, you encounter the scriptures in your daily life through the homily, and you get to receive Jesus in the Eucharist.  The entire Mass is biblical in nature.  If someone questions your knowledge of the bible, simply recite the prayers, responses, and simple hymns that are sung during Mass, they are all directly from the Bible.  Did you know that if you go to Mass every day for three years, you will have heard the entire Bible read to you during the Liturgy of the Word?  It’s amazing how much you can learn and encounter Christ by spending one hour of your weekend at Mass.

Create a home filled with reminders of Him – There isn’t a room in my house that doesn’t have some sort of spiritual reminder.  The artwork found around my home exudes God, whether it be quotes from scripture, our mealtime prayer, pictures of Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary or the Holy Water font I have hanging near the door we most often use to exit the house.  Everywhere you look, you are reminded of our Lord.  I have at least one crucifix/cross in each room of my house.  I recently had a complete stranger come to the house to do some work and he commented how peaceful the house felt.  By having these reminders surrounding me, Jesus is never far from my mind.

Chores can wait! –  The kids are taking naps, playing at a friend’s house, at the grandparents, or at school for the day and you have an hour or more to accomplish something around your house.  Oh my goodness, you have been given a gift, a free moment of time.  These moments are cherished by busy parents.  What do I usually do with this free time, chores.  My list of chores gets longer every day and sometimes I feel like I may never get caught up; clean the dishes from breakfast, fold the laundry, scrub a dirty toilet, make my bed (who am I kidding, this never gets done), pickup the toys, sweep the kitchen floor, the list goes on and on.

Chores used to be my favorite excuse as to why I couldn’t find the time to pray.  Now, I pray first, then do the chores.  The dishes will still be dirty, the toilet will still need scrubbed, but your mind will be set at ease and you will better encounter the daily grind with Jesus walking by your side.

If you are anything like me, you are sitting there saying, “How can I pray when I have a list a mile long that needs done?”.  Trust me.  Leave the chores.  Take a walk.  Find a quiet spot in your house.  Go outside on your porch.  You will be amazed at what God will reveal to you, and instead of entering chore time thinking about how much you hate doing them, you will be filled with the Holy Spirit and able to do the chores in peace.

Set a reminder on your phone – Do you ever get alerts on your phone?  Ding…a text message just arrived.  Beep…someone just messaged you on Facebook.  Ring…you just earned a new character on Subway Surfers.

I decided a few years ago to turn off all of my notifications except one, the one that alerts me to pray.  I downloaded an app called Universalis.  This app alerts me seven times a day to pray.  The sound that comes from the alert is a church bell.  I hear the alert and God is instantly brought to my mind.  Sometimes I sit and pray a few minutes and other times I simply pray “God, come to my assistance, Lord, make haste to help me.”.  Develop a prayer of your own, setup an alert on your phone and bring Him to mind throughout your day even in the littlest way.

Go to Adoration – Adoration changes people, period.  What is the one thing lacking in our lives today?  Silence.  Without silence, how can we expect to hear God, how can we expect to see the path God is encouraging us to walk with Him?  Adoration is blissful silent prayer in front of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Before I was Catholic and would visit a Catholic church, I always felt there was something special and sacred about praying in a Catholic church.  My soul could feel Jesus there, my mind just couldn’t recognize Him yet.  Countless times I entered Catholic churches in my travels around the United States and abroad where I lit candles and knelt in prayer.  Many Catholic churches have small chapels where people come to pray nearly all day every day.  It is simply beautiful and humbling to see the number of people that come seeking Jesus in prayer and find him in Adoration.

Adoration changed me.  The silence changed me.  Spending a dedicated hour with Jesus away from my home changed me.  Prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament = power.

Get up 10 minutes early every day – This one is easy.  Set your alarm for 10 minutes early tomorrow morning.  Before you even get out of bed, pray.  Don’t even let your feet hit the floor, pray.  Don’t go to the bathroom, pray.  Not sure where to start with your prayer, just pray one Our Father.  Unfamiliar with that prayer, just pray “Jesus be with me today.”  Over time, as you begin to get used to your new routine, spend some time asking God to guide you through your day, watch over your kids, help you to encounter suffering with hope, and to allow you to give grace to those you encounter.  Simple.  Easy.  Literally start your day with prayer.

Listen to Catholic/Christian radio – One of the main sources to deepen my faith was St. Gabriel Catholic radio.  It is a Catholic Christian talk radio station that offers shows such as “Call to Communion”, “Christ is the Answer”, “The Sunrise Morning Show”, “Encounter” and “Catholic Answers Live”.  Without this station, I would never know the Lord and His Church like I do today.  It is uplifting, encouraging, and faith building.  It allows me to hear the answers to deep questions about the faith and it helps me discern whether or not I am on the path to holiness.

When I’m in the mood for something other than talk radio, I turn on 104.9 The River a Christian contemporary music station and let the Lord speak directly to my soul through music.  The lyrics are inspiring and speak the truth of Jesus Christ.  Many times, I find myself singing the songs throughout my day bringing Jesus back to my mind over and over again.

Find a good Catholic/Christian book/devotional – There are so many wonderful faith filled books!  It has been four years since I have read a secular book.  The knowledge and the depth of my faith have exploded by reading stories of hope founded in Jesus Christ, church history, the history of the bible, beginning theology, stories about the saints, conversion stories and more.  I have a few devotionals, but my favorite is Jesus Calling.  This devotional is a very easy way to spend 5 minutes in prayer, reading scripture and hearing Jesus call your heart home to him.

Check social media AFTER you finish praying – How many times do we finally get to take a break throughout our day and we immediately turn to social media?  The next time you think about opening Facebook or Instagram, put your phone down and pray FIRST.  We all know how depressing and controversial social media can be.  When you pray first, it puts your mind into a restful, peaceful state where you can encounter situations through God’s eyes instead of human eyes, and sometimes after praying you won’t even want to see what the world has to say.

Don’t beat yourself up – Lastly, don’t beat yourself up.  Too many times I have heard parents say how mad they are at themselves for not finding the time to pray.   Don’t get mad, just do a little better every day and if you miss a day, that’s ok, start again tomorrow.

God wants you in relationship with Him.  He wants to know you as a Father knows his child.  He wants you to open your soul to him and share your heart’s struggles, desires, dreams, and passions.  Start that relationship with him today.  Start small.  Choose one item on my list and once you’ve perfected it, choose another one.

Think of the power we could harness if we all made prayer a priority.  Let’s do this!  Let’s change the world together, one faithful prayer warrior at a time.

“Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” – 1 Chronicles 16:11







The Prayer Journey of a 44 Year Old Mom

Over the course of my life, I have had different experiences with my personal prayer life.  When I was a child, we would pray the Our Father and the Guardian Angel Prayer every night before bed followed by God bless mommy, God bless daddy, God bless the dog, the kid next door, my cousins, the butcher, and basically anyone else who popped in my mind.

As I grew older, my relationship with God took on a different meaning.  I started to ask God for things I wanted.  I would ask for things like a good grade on my math test, enough money to buy the Jordache jeans I wanted, that the cute boy sitting next to me in science would slip me a “will you go with me, yes or no?” note, and that my mom would stop making zucchini casserole.  Most of my prayer revolved around me and what I wanted for my life.

Then, when I reached college age and my early twenties, I maintained my “me, me, me” praying, but I also started bargaining.  I started using words like “ok God, if you get me home safe tonight, I’ll…” or “if you don’t let this plane crash (I traveled a lot for work in my early twenties and truth be told, I hated flying), I’ll…” or “if you could just make this boy love me the way I think I love him, I’ll…”.  Obviously, I was still very selfish in my prayer; never praising God, never thanking him, and definitely never examining my own life and recognizing where I was falling short of God’s plan and asking for the help to change.

Fast forward to my thirties and you will find a woman who was just trying to survive.  Marriage, kids and work were taking over my life.  I learned to not be selfish, but instead became selfless to the point that I lost a bit of my identity.  Prayer became an after thought.  I only prayed when I needed something; sanity, help getting through the next day, my infant daughter to stop crying, and to be able to take a shower before my husband returned home from work to find me a mess.  Finding time to pray was difficult, so I just didn’t do it, I just couldn’t bring myself to find the time until finally I would explode and fall to my knees crying and asking God to save me from this life I knew nothing about.

I found out I was pregnant with my third child six years ago today.  It was a total shock.  I was 38 years old and planned to return to work in the fall.  I had my life planned out and this wasn’t part of that plan.  I was devastated.  How could God let this happen?

I became a full time stay-at-home mom in 2007 after being laid off from my job and becoming pregnant with my second child.  Over the course of the next 5 years, we acquired a lot of debt that kept me up worrying at night.  I needed to go back to work.  But God had a different plan.  I would continue to stay home, give birth to my third child, acquire more debt, and become angry and resentful toward my family and God.  At the end of her first year of life, my heart was completely disconnected from prayer.  From the outside, I appeared perfectly involved at church and at home, but inside my heart was dying.

That’s when God broke through.  That’s when God yanked me from my wilderness.  I went through a huge conversion, not only in my faith, but also through the healing of my heart.  This new baby turned out to be an angel sent to bring me back to Him.  She is a radiant light in the darkness of this world.  Full of joy, hope and compassion, she has helped to restore my faith and deepen my prayer life.  She is the gift that only God knew I needed.  He provided this gift at exactly the right time.

Now, in my 40s, prayer is part of who I am.  Prayer is my comfort, my escape, my soul healer, and the time I need with my Father.  It provides peace and direction for my life.  There is rarely a moment throughout my day when God isn’t on my mind.  Now, instead of asking God for things of this world, I pray this prayer everyday.

Heavenly Father,  thank you for everything you have given me; my family, a husband who loves me, wonderful faith filled children, parents to guide me, food on the table, a roof over my head, and clothes on my back.  Thank you for bringing me to your Church where I get to receive you body, blood, soul and divinity to give me strength in this life to continue your work.  Let me be your eyes, your ears, your voice in this world.  Let me see people as you see them.  Let me be your hands and your feet.  Let me always seek to follow you and love you above all things.  Thank you Jesus.  You are my everything.  Thy will, not my will be done.  Amen.

My prayer for you today is that you will find time for God, you will begin a conversation with Him that will last a lifetime, and you will trust in His love to pull you through even the greatest of suffering.

“Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.” – Romans 12:12