Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Behold Deadline

Hey ladies.

Just an fyi that if you plan on attending the Behold Conference but have not yet registered you have one day - TODAY! - to register and be guaranteed conference materials.  The deadline is March 1st and in this leap year you lucked out and have an extra day. 

Take advantage of it!  You will want the "conference materials" because what I'm really saying that you're getting are these:

Swag bags, baby, yeah!

Actually, those are the bags from last year and this year we'll have something just as nice and filled with all kinds of awesomeness.

So get online and REGISTER!  You will not want to miss this beautiful day!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

we've been watching Disney movies

Today my sweet little three and a half year old oh-so-sincerely asked me,

"Mom, do I have a Cave of Wonders in my mouth?"

So we've been watching Aladdin...  But we also were on a Sleeping Beauty kick for awhile which brought a terrible fear of dragons into my little girl's heart.

"Mommy, what if a dragon comes and tries to get me while I'm sleeping?"

"Well there aren't any dragons around us.  None will come to our town."

"But what if one does?"

"Well, St. Michael and your Guardian Angel will protect you."

"But they're up in Heaven."

"Well then Daddy will get his shot gun and kill it."

"Okay.  Good night, Mommy."

Iron and The Beatles

If you've asked me in the past few months how I'm feeling I have probably told you that I'm tired.  Or exhausted.  Maybe even grumpy.  But definitely tired.

7 months pregnant with three little kids running around and not sleeping through the night - of course I'm tired!

But today I learned that my thyroid is a little out of whack and my iron numbers are pretty low.  So this pregnancy is kicking my butt.  No wonder I took two naps yesterday!

I suppose I should start eating steak and burgers every night with lots of kale chips on the side.  Have any of you been in this situation before?  What did you do about it?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

7 Quick Takes a little late

1 - This is a bit of an odd song, but one that I've loved for a long time.  I hope you like it, too.

2 - In case you missed Rose and my live television interview here is the link for CatholicTV's This Is the Day.  We begin around 8:10.  We were supposed to Skype in so I actually used the blow dryer.  Bennet had to ask what it was, that's how infrequently it is used.  And then no one saw my nice hair.  Oh well.

3 - A little while ago I asked to borrow a maternity dress for the Behold Conference.  I put the request up on Facebook and about a week later I had about 9 new-to-me dresses and several tunics/shirts to wear for the rest of the pregnancy.  Facebook - I love you!  (When I don't hate you and the way you suck the life out of me.)

4 - I have this sorta cheesy book - The One Hundred Greatest Poems.  I got it when I was in college and loved it then.  But after college I was so tired of reading that I barely read for, well, for years.  But recently I picked it back up because it would be simple and a no-commitment read.  But instead I've fallen back in love with a lot of the poems and I am hungry to read more.  I like how they demand to be read slowly, weighing the significance of each word.  It's very different from the majority of the articles, blogs, and simple books I've been reading the last few years.

5 - My favorite, I think, is Dulce Et Decorum Est.  Maybe you read it years ago in some Brit Lit class.  Read it.  The end is the best.

6 - All of yesterday and today I've been praying for my friends R and N.  R was induced today and I keep checking to see if she's had their baby yet.  Please say a prayer for them, too, please.  It's been a long, hard, emotional journey for them.

7 - The registration deadline for the Behold Conference is coming up, ladies - March 1st!  Make sure you register - scholarships are still available if money is making you hesitate.  The day is going to be so phenomenal - I sincerely hope you can be a part of it.  And, if any of you bloggity people out there come please introduce yourself!  I'd love to meet some of my blogosphere friends!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Live TV Interview Today

This post could also be called URGENT PRAYER REQUEST!!!

Tune in to CatholicTV's "This Is the Day" show at 9:30 central time for a live interview that I'll be doing along with Behold executive director Rose Rudolph.

Rose and I will be Skyping in for the 5 minute segment and we're really excited about and grateful for the opportunity to promote the Behold Conference.

You can watch by going to this link and clicking on "Watch CatholicTV Live" on the upper-ish right side.  And in the meantime please pray for both of us!  I've done a lot of interviews with the reporters for the written press recently, but "live" and "tv" make me nervous!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Special for Pete's sake

Two families in the Peoria area are grieving the loss of their baby girls.
Teresa L. is currently in labor with Gianna Therese, who has passed away from anencephaly. Please keep Mike, Teresa, Ben, and Charlie in your prayers.
Pamela B. delivered Elizabeth Marie last night, who passed away from placenta abruption. Please keep Mark, Pamela, Katherine, Matthew, and Lucy in your prayers. 
Tomorrow, Monday, February 20th from 8-9pm, there will be a Holy Hour of Adoration and Rosary for the families at St. Philomena Church in Peoria . Please join us for part or all of the hour as we lift up these families in prayer and adore our Lord.

On the 15th of each month (when I remember - this month I'm 4 days late) I collect prayer intentions that are related to the loss of a child or infertility.  I do this to honor my son, Peter Mark, who was miscarried and whose due date was January 15th.

If you would like to leave a prayer request in the comment box I would be honored to pray for you and your intention.  You can leave as much or as little information as you wish.

Please join me in praying for the families of Gianna and Elizabeth.

Friday, February 17, 2012

7 quick takes

1 - Thank you, Pandora Radio, for the above song.  About a minute into it sounds like something off the Graceland album.  And that is such a good album.  mmm-mmmm.  (That was a Lady Blacksmith Mambazo impression from "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" in case you missed it.)

2 - I have been very emotional lately.  Pregnancy hormones are to blame, of course.  So are memories of the NICU.  I was asked to be part of a panel suggesting improvements for the cooling therapy and communication with / integration of families.  Making my Top Ten list had me sobbing, so clearly there are still some things I haven't dealt with yet.  I think, though, that doing this panel will make me feel better as I work through different situations.  Hoping.

3 - I baked an apple pie yesterday because I just wanted an apple pie.  It was a good decision.  So what if dinner was late?  Nothing is better than warm apple pie on a hopeless day.

4 - In exciting news Betty Duffy is coming to the Behold Conference.  Betty Duffy!  Love her!  So see, there's one more reason why you should make the drive and come!  Come!  You can register right now if you want.  I'll wait for you to come back so we can finish these quick takes.

5 - For a long time James was afraid of stairs.  He managed to get stuck on the bottom on a few times (while I was upstairs showering) and then he just avoided them for a long time.  However, I've been working with him on doing stairs since the baby will be here soon and we need to get this done!  So I'm very happy to say that yesterday he just took off and walk-crawled all the way up the stairs to the second story.  He did it perfectly and we were all proud - most especially him.  The baby gate has come back out.

6 - Today I'm buying tickets for the local JJ Heller - Audrey Assad show.  So excited!

7 - Travis is going out of town tomorrow to do some work on a friends cabin.  We need money, badly, so the arrangement will have to work of pregnant me + 2 -3 kids who do not sleep through the night, all alone.  You can pray for me.  You can also hire Travis to do handyman jobs or renovations at your house, especially if you live 40 mins or less away.  We can all win.


Watching the Today Show this morning I saw a quote from Nancy Pelosi.
"Five men are testifying on women's health. Where are the women? Imagine having a panel on women's health and they don't have any women on the panel. Duh!"

However, there were two panels and the later one featured two women.
"Rep. Pelosi is either ill informed or arrogantly dismissive of women who don’t share her views. Today’s hearing does in fact include two women, Dr. Allison Garrett of Oklahoma Christian University and Dr. Laura Champion of Calvin College Health Services," a representative for the congressman who arranged the panels said.

Funny that David Gregory and Today didn't comment on that part of it. You can read a Huffington Post piece on it here.
I understand that Nancy Pelosi and many others believe that their side of the fight is about women's health but that is not what we are fighting about. We are fighting about religious freedom. One of these things is protected by the Constitution and the other is not.

And if Ms. Pelosi wants to hear what women think of it then I suggest she read this statement released by the Sisters of Life. Surely she will not dismiss the sisters since they, too, are women. Surely she will give heed to their thoughts and concerns. It is clearly well thought out and well written. The whole thing should be read, but the bottom line is this:

"Our special fourth vow, made in a solemn and sacred ceremony and binding on us in conscience and in the laws of the Church, is at the heart of our identity as a religious community, and is a profound expression of the religious and spiritual commitment of each of our Sisters. This new rule pays no heed to our right to live according to our vows. ... Since we are neither employers, nor employees, of any religious institution, we cannot even take advantage of the “religious exemption” contained in the new regulations or the “compromise.”
As a result, this mandate would coerce each and every individual Sister of Life to betray her religious vows."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Liebster is a German word, meaning dearest or beloved, but it can also mean favorite. The idea behind the Liebster Blog Award is that it is given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers in order to create new connections and bring attention to those wonderful blogs!"
Katie at Look to Him and Be Radiant
Kaitlin at More Like Mary - More Like Me.
Cynthia at Finding Great Joy
Alisha at Those Landrys

honorable mention:
Calah at Barefoot and Pregnant

Maria Isabella

Hey folks, one of my fellow contributors to IGNITUM TODAY just learned that his 17 week old, unborn child has Spina Bifida.  This is their first child and they are praying for a miracle.  Would you please join me in saying a prayer for their little Maria Isabella?

We just found out that our precious baby girl (now 17 weeks in the womb), Maria Isabella, has Spina Bifida. In the specific case of our precious princess, a part of her back never fully closed-up while she was in her earliest stages of development. This means that there is a small hole towards the bottom of her back which has exposed the spinal cord and also exposes her to danger from the amniotic fluids which can affect the brain as well as her nerves in the cord itself.

As of right now, we are praying for the opportunity to see a specialist in Philadelphia at CHOP, (Children’s Hospital of Philly) one out of 3 other sites in the USA where this surgery is done well.

We don't know much more right now about what the next steps are....and trust me, we've been researching it for days....we are trusting in God and praying for a miracle.....but even more than that, praying that His Will be done in all of our lives. We feel so blessed to have been given such a gift from God….she has surely already begun sanctifying all of us….and SO MANY people are already praying for her.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

a song for Valentine's Day

This morning I told my husband he was the best husband in the world.  He told me that was true only as far as I was concerned.  But here's hoping all of you feel that way about your spouse - either today or someday - that he is the best in the world.

I hope all of you have a wonderful day filled with love.  Love of friends and family and our good God.  I hope you all get treated to something special and something fun.  If nothing else, consider this your valentine. 

Many thanks to my lovely friend Alisha for introducing me to this song.

And yes, those are jelly beans.

giving myself the Mom of the Year award

Fair warning, this post discusses poop and the act of pooping.

Welcome to Motherhood!

After 3 and 1/2 years of changing one diaper after diaper my daughter is finally using the potty all day, every day.  Praised be Jesus Christ!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Here's some good news

If you live in Cental Illinois you have a new choice for an ob-gyn: Dr. Jill Stalling.

I happen to know Dr. Stalling personally and I know that she is phenominal.  Kind, warm, hard-working, and compassionate, she is a great choice for a doctor.  Dr. Stalling is a NFP-only doctor and is is one of nine physicians worldwide providing full medical and surgical NaProTECHNOLOGY services for patients. 

If you're not familiar with NaPro Technology here's a little more info:  "Natural ProcreativeTechnology is a new women's health science that monitors and maintains awoman's reproductive and gynecological health. It provides medical and surgicaltreatments that cooperate completely with the reproductive system."  You can find out more here:

So, for example, if you have endometreosis and your ob told you you'll never have kids and wrote you a a prescription for the pill to cover up the issues then you need to see Dr. Stalling.  She will actually help fix the problem!

You can find Dr. Stalling at the office of Teverbaugh, Croland, & Mueller.  Visit their website:

Friday, February 10, 2012

meatless Fridays to in the cafeteria culture

With Lent quickly approaching the timing of this post may seem a little off but in the midst of all the shit that's hit the fan it's quite appropriate.

I am tired of all the cafeteria Catholics.  People who proudly write dumb stuff like this in comment boxes:
I do what the great majority of my Catholic friends around me do... Go to Church, Kneel, Pray, Take the Eucharist, Go home, pop a birth control pill with the blessing of my Catholic husband and his entire Catholic family. Get up the next Monday and drive my 2 kids to Catholic School and meet the other Moms of that School and talk about their two (at the most three )kids. 

It's dumb because if they care enough to make the effort to go to Mass on Sundays and send their kids to parochial school then they should care enough to not go to Hell.  From the comment above I would think that woman never even thinks about eternity.  But if she did then she just might mind what Paul said to the Corinthians:   So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.  Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.  For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. (1 Cor 11:27-29)

Perhaps all these self-proclaimed cafeteria Catholics are unaware of this passage from Scripture.  If that's the case I'm not so pissed as I am disappointed that they haven't taken it upon themselves to study the Word of God.  Nonetheless, let me explain some basic Church teaching in case ignorance really is to blame:
- The Catholic Church teaches that "love, marriage, sex, and procreation are all things that belong together."  That means contraception is immoral.  (Even noncatholics over at Business Insider understand this.)
- The Catholic Church doesn't make it's decrees based what the majority of Catholics think or like.  They make them based on Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.  Those two things are old

7 quick takes

1 - One of my favorite things about winter is the combination of a snowy night and Christmas lights.  It's so dark and cold but then there's these pops of warmth and cheer.  When the lights glow through a good blanket of snow - that's the best.  I know most people are done with winter by this time of the year, and I know a lot of us haven't gotten a lot of snow, so I guess we can just chalk this quick take up to what I missed this past December.  But that's one of the things I so love about this video - the lights on the dark snow.  And, you know, I really like the song too.

2 - Not sure if you read my most recent post for IGNITUM TODAY.  It shared some tips of what we - as Catholic, pro-lifers) can do when we or someone we know miscarries.  The amazing thing about the post was that the day before my editor posted on her personal blog about her miscarriage and shortly after me another IT contributor posted on the loss of a stillborn baby.  It was like the Holy Spirit was pushing on us to deliver a message for Him.  And then I saw this post, "An Overdue Letter to My Children in Heaven" by the Passionate Papist.  It's absolutely beautiful; I was especially touched by what his 14 year old daughter wrote to her sisters.  I really encourage you to read it!

3 - A small group of Midwestern bishops are in Rome so they can catch up and shoot the breeze with the Pope.  My bishop, Daniel Jenky, is one of them.  (Okay, I'm sure they're talking business, too.)  One of things Bishop Jenky and the men who travelled with him will be doing while there is meeting with the postulator for Sheen's beatification cause.  I don't know if I'll be privy to any information they get while there but I'm dying to know where we are!  Will Sheen be named "Venerable" soon?  The Pope could maybe tell them...  Which alleged miracle will they use?  James'?  How much longer will we have to wait?  It makes me wanna scream out, "You're killin' me, Smalls!"

4 - On Twitter there's two trends: #iusebirthcontrol and #iuseNFP.  The amazing thing is that many reasons that people list for using birth control are the reasons I use NFP.  And then some of the reasons tweeted make me think the person shouldn't be having sex in the first place.

5 - This made me laugh. 

6 - You probably don't think things like that because you're further along on the road to sanctification than I am.  But, if this counts for anything, there's only one person who makes me feel this way.  Yeah, I know, I should work on that...

7 - I need to cut out a bunch of moustaches to put on sucker sticks for Valentines.  We'll see if it happens.  People might just be getting some regular-old suckers.

Happy Weekend to you all!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

two things I want to say

There's a lot of confusion out there about why Catholics are pissed about the HHS mandate. Let me say just two little things:
a - It's not about who uses contraception and who doesn't nor is it about how many dissenting Catholics there are or who disagrees with the Church's teaching on contraception. IT'S ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT FORCING RELIGIOUS PEOPLE TO DO SOMETHING THAT GOES AGAINST THEIR CONSCIENCE. And yes, buying someone birth control pills would qualify.
b - If you want birth control to be covered by your provider then DON'T WORK FOR THE CATHOLIC CHURCH! No one is forcing nurses to apply to Catholic hospitals, teachers to Catholic schools, social workers to Catholic charities, secretaries to Catholic organizations, and so on. We're not asking that the HHS mandate be completely removed, just that the religious exemption clause be widened so it can actually be used by most religious institutions.

Monday, February 6, 2012

upcoming speaking engagements

I'm really excited about two upcoming opportunities to share James' story.

The first will be a Lenten "Time for Reflection" hosted by the Altar & Rosary Society at Immaculate Conception in Lacon, IL on Saturday, March 3rd.  The day will begin at 9am and will include Mass, several talks, Stations of the Cross, confessions, and brunch.  The registration fee is $10.  Contact Francis Nevitt at 309-246-5145 to register.  You can pay at the door or mail a check, marked "registration fee" to
Immaculate Conception Alter & Rosary Society
418 North Center St.
Lacon, IL 61540
The second will be a parish event hosted by the youth group at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield, IL.  Following the 5pm Mass on Sunday, March 25th I'll be speaking in the Atrium.  There is no fee to attend and the event is open to the public.

At both events I will share the story of my stillborn son's alleged miraculous healing through the intercession of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.  I will also give a layman's summary of the process for canonization and share my impressions of the tribunal. 

In sincerly hope you will be able to join us at these two great events!

Friday, February 3, 2012

7 quick takes

1 - Going out on a limb here with some 80's music.  But man, this song is so good.  And you know what, I wish I could rely on my old man's money.  It's a bitch, girl.

2 - Hey, if you want simple, awesome cookies that mix peanut butter, chocolate chips, and little else, you have got to check out this recipe.  They're gluten free if that matters to you, and it only makes a dozen or so cookies so you don't feel quite so bad when you eat the whole batch.  (Not that I have done that... yet.)

3 - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is pretty popular in my home right now.  Bennet prefers it because he loves the dwarfs.  He walks around the house, holding his toy hammer on his shoulder, singing "Heigh Ho!"

4 - Lydia, on the other hand, belts out, "Still I think he's rather tasty" over and over again.  It's a line from the Prince Ali song in Aladdin.  She even does the voice.  You may have heard her at Wal-Mart earlier this week.

5 - What are you making for your Super Bowl party this Sunday?  I'm supposed to bring cookies and will probably bring chocolate chip cookies but I'm definitely open for a suggestion.  Also, I may do a rendering of Skip Bayless' and ESPN's Tim Tebow - All He Does Is Win song.  Rejoice that we're not going to the same party.  (But my husband loves it!)

6 - What, you don't know what song I'm talking about?  Well pause Rich Girl and enjoy:

7 - Now on a more serious note, my new post is up over at IGNITUM TODAY.  Another Life to Remember is one part encouraging pro-lifers to stop ignoring babies lost in miscarriage and one part suggestions for what you can do if you or someone you know is miscarrying.  I hope it's helpful.

Blessings for a good, safe, fun weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Discerning #5

At the end of the summer my husband came home from working in his classroom and said, "I want more children."

I looked at him, shocked and worried, and said, "Do you mean in nine months or eventually?"

"I don't know," he replied. "I was looking at the pictures on my desk.  There was our wedding photo, and then you and Lydia, and then Lydia and Bennet, and then all three kids.  And I just knew that I wanted another baby."

I said something about how we could eventually have more kids but not in nine months.  No way.  I was not ready. 

My husband and I use natural family planning - we pray about the size and spacing of our family and I do fertility awareness charting.  NFP helped us intentionally get pregnant the first two times.  With Bennet we weren't charting or praying (and therefore practicing no family planning whatsoever) but we still won in the end because he is one awesome little boy.  With James we were charting and taking risks. 

After James we took no risks.  I was praying, but my prayers were more along the lines of, "God, I do not want to get pregnant right now and if You want me to You will need to change my heart."  That was where I was at when Travis came home that day with his open heart.  His words were enough to make me change my prayer.

"Lord, do You want us to have another baby right now?" became my prayer.  I prayed it over and over again, usually with a great deal of anxiety that the answer would be "yes", and often with the added line, "I really hope You don't."  But as I continued to seek God's will I began to feel a calm inside.  My prayers continued and I soon felt that God was asking me to set aside the charting for a little bit and Trust.  I felt like He was telling me, "Maybe you'll get pregnant, maybe you won't.  Maybe if you do the pregnancy will end early and you'll have two children with Me.  Just know that whatever happens will be My Will and I will be faithful and generous."

If there was one thing I learned with James, Sheen, and the NICU it's that God is faithful and generous.  And so there I was, convicted.

After a day or so of sitting on this conviction I decided to talk to Travis about it once all the kids were in bed.  So I shared everything with him and he told me that he had the same answer. 

So we set aside the charting.  And we got pregnant.  And about 6 weeks into the pregnancy I had very painful cramping and bright red bleeding.  We thought I was miscarrying.  And, odd as it may sound, we felt a lot of peace about it.  Don't get me wrong - I was scared, worried, anxious, and sad - but I felt like, "We knew all along that this might be what God would do."  So maybe it would be better to say I wasn't surprised.  My progesterone levels were low but not enough that I was too concerned.  Probably to the horror of many friends I did not take progesterone - I just waited it out and hoped that the numbers would increase and the cramping and bleeding would stop. 

Clearly, at 25 weeks today, the numbers went up and the bleeding and cramping stopped.

In our first five years of marriage Travis and I have been pregnant five times.  People are often shocked that after the surprises of Bennet and James we would have intentionally gotten pregnant again.  In turn, I am shocked that people are so unwilling to trust and believe in the big God that they claim to believe in. 

We both feel that family will be a good size at 6.  Four kids, aged 4 and under will keep me pretty busy during the day.  We feel like this may be all God is asking of us and so I try to enjoy each little movement I feel.  But are we done, never to have another child?  I don't know.  Probably.  Perhaps, though, in five years God will tug at our hearts again, asking us to set aside the charts and just Trust.  Perhaps some kind of infertility will befall us and this baby really will be our last. 

I don't know where God is leading me.  Five years ago I never would have suspected He would have brought me to this point.  But here I am, very blessed by my five little babies.