Tuesday, February 28, 2012


A few months ago, our favorite padre asked me to contribute to what would become a Lenten booklet for college students. He knows well the love I have for that demographic and I was happy and ridiculously humbled to contribute. My assignment was to write a reflection on each Tuesday of Lent using scripture readings for the day. College students in our area have received actual print books but one of the other contributors, Rachel Balducci, (a bona fide author,) posted all of our daily reflections on Faith and Family Live. As Father Tim says, "Lent Hard."

Tuesday, February 28

Today’s readings remind us of the ever present comfort our Lord provides us during difficult times. Psalm 34 says, “When the just cry out, the LORD hears them, and from all their distress he rescues them.The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.”

How comforting are these words! Most of us have had our spirits crushed. We have known moments of despair. Many of us have looked into the face of someone we love and seen sadness. In this psalm, God validates us. He knows, better than anyone, the pain of a broken heart. He truly empathizes with us and He gives us hope. No matter how deep our pain, how lonely our nights, He will rescue us. He is close to the brokenhearted. He will save our crushed spirits. To all those suffering with illness, loneliness, betrayal, fear, insecurity, He is never as close as He is during these moments of pain. He is with you every single day, rebuilding your precious spirit.

It is in these times of pain that I find myself lacking the words to pray. Words don’t come. I know the answer lies in growing closer to Him but I can’t utter a thing. It is then that I find comfort in the prayer that Jesus himself gave us in Matthew 6—I don’t have to find the words. He gave us His: “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name…”

Reflecting on those words reminds me during those dark nights that His will shall be done and that forgiveness of self or others, or receiving of forgiveness is usually a key to finding light again. He says, “Give us this day our daily bread.” What is beautiful about this is that He alone knows what “bread” we need. Maybe the homeless woman needs literal bread. Maybe the elderly woman needs the bread of comfort from a visitor. Maybe the addict needs the bread of restoration. Maybe the student needs focus and direction. Whatever our needs are, we simply pray that prayer and He will know exactly what bread to send.

The psalm today begins, “Glorify the LORD with me, let us together extol his name.” During this Lent, may we glorify God in moments of joy and in pain. For we trust the words from Holy Scripture that He hears all of our cries.
—Keri Ninness

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

This and That

  • Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the holy season of Lent. While there are many things I need to give up (small embryo baby cannot live on doritos alone), I like this idea better. For your marriage, getting ready for lent has some wonderful ideas for a non-fasting mama or someone who wants to make lent more about Jesus and less about the torture of giving up chocolate. Can I tell you how happy it makes me to know Jesus would rather have my time than my iced animal cookies? Such a merciful God!
  • I'm sure you've all seen this but for all of us Catholics trying to learn the new translation of the Mass, it's funny

  • This week is the spring Mothers of Preschoolers Consignment Sale. I just left a shift of setting up and was blown away by the quality of the items, the pricing and the variety. Come see us Friday and Saturday. We are just inside Smyrna (about 3 minutes off the 75/285 interchange. See our facebook page for details.
  • Like everyone else, I could not be more thankful for this non-winter. I have to say that knowing I will be 7-9 months pregnant this summer (Lord willing) makes me fear that our mild winter might mean a sweltering summer. But I won't worry about that yet. Instead, I'll enjoy afternoons like this:

  • I am tempted to wear all black the rest of the week, in a serious state of mourning that Downton Abbey is gone. I have truly never loved a show so much and am so sad it is over. Oh the final scene of this season with Mary and Matthew, MELT ME!!!  Thankfully, the Atlanta-Journal came to the rescue with Reading: For life without Downton. I will be in my favorite second hand bookstore (The Book Stop) as soon as Consignment is over this week!
  • That's about all the rambling I can muster for today. Back to my iced animal crackers and a little work to round out this Tuesday!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

This baby's heart beats, too

Almost exactly two years ago, I heard Mary Kate's heart beat for the first time. The wonder of being a new mom and all signs pointing to a healthy baby overwhelmed me. I was so excited that my baby's heart did indeed beat. Today, that wonder and awe flooded back. Today, I heard my second baby's heart beat. Today I saw a beautiful little profile, a perfectly oversized head and little arms. Today, I realized I did not have an awful case of the flu, as I have felt for the last many weeks. What I do have is another glorious, blessed, God-given life inside of me.

There aren't words to convey my sheer gratitude at being able to create another life. Like many of us, my heart breaks into pieces for those for whom parenthood comes with more difficulty. When I feel like I will go crazy with one more minute of nausea or fatigue, I see the face of friends who would welcome that sickness with open arms. It is not pity, just a genuine ache for them to have their hearts' desires fulfilled. I am doing a much worse job than I had hoped of handling these discomforts with grace. But I have a husband who is simply heaven sent (who went out the other night in 35 degree weather at 9:30 pm to get me a popsicle) and a baby at the end of all this ickness.

To my next precious babe,

Thanks to your uber rambunctious sister (who has forgotten how to sleep through the night this week?!?),  I don't spend as much time reflecting on the miracle that you are as I should. But today, I saw your profile and heard your heartbeat and cried at exactly that- the miracle you are.  You are the next integral piece to our family and your dad and I could not be more thrilled that somewhere around September 19th, we will see your sweet face. You are loved beyond words, beyond measure. Welcome to the world little person!
the first photo of my precious second baby

and your big sis. She is wonderful and wild and I am so thankful to give her the gift of a sibling (you may not consider her a gift at times but that will come later, I'm sure!)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Becoming the right woman

I recently read a beautiful post by Ann Voskamp who wrote "I married the right man because God can make me the right woman." Marriage is complex and wonderful and exhausting and beautiful and heart-wrenching and refining and a million other things mixed together. But what I'm realizing a big bad 2.5 years into this gig is that God absolutely can make me into the right woman for this wonderful man. It may take a little more humility than I am often willing to give, but it is absolutely possible. So tonight, I am trading in the yoga pants for a dress (okay, clean jeans). I am trading in the sticky banana on my face for real makeup. I am trading the ponytail for some actual hair product. I am trading the left-overs for a new home-cooked meal and a quick once-over for a bona fide cleaned home. I am trading tired mommy for energized wife. I will trade any temptation for criticism for grace and love. I will trade any impatience for patience. Tonight, I will practice being the right woman for my unbelievably wonderful husband. I might even watch Hannity with him. MIGHT.

To my Valentine, even had you not brought home a bunch of chocolate and these (aforementioned little beauties--see number 2-- )  I'd still want to be the right wife for you, today and always. But naturally, this helped! Being at home with our little creature is the biggest blessing in the world, but it is easy to become all mommy and less wife. You deserve much more than you get most days but give to us both so endlessly. There are two girls in this house who are so happy to have you as their Valentine. We love you!

love Big Valentine

and your little Valentine, too