Tag Archives: praise

With God All Things Are Possible: My Miracle Story

13076967_10104245281224424_1389941517515175780_nThis week is National Infertility Awareness week.  Did you know that 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility?  I’ve posted about my own struggle here before.  Infertility is a very real cross.  The grief of letting go of that hope you have in your heart month after month after month is excruciating.

Last spring, after almost three years of trying and praying for a baby, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).  It was the PCOS that seemed to be responsible for the lack of regularity in my cycles as well as hormonal imbalances and cysts on my ovaries.  There are ways to work around PCOS.  Medications to try, nutrition changes to make, etc.  But before we could try any of those things, my body had to get rid of a large complex cyst.  After months of monitoring and medication to attempt to shrink it, the cyst had only grown larger and another one had joined it.  The next step was to have laparoscopic surgery to remove the cysts.  My doctor suspected I may have endometriosis as well.  The only way to officially diagnose endo is through surgery.

During the surgery, she removed the cysts and discovered that I had stage 4 endometriosis.  It had stuck my insides together making it impossible for anything to function properly.  She was able to clear it out but the things about endometriosis, there is no cure.  You can remove it via surgery, but it will likely return.  And the further along you are stage-wise…the quicker it typically comes back.  She advised our best chance at pregnancy would be within 6 months of surgery.

So we hoped and we prayed.  We tried medications to help my hormones and had ultrasounds to monitor my ovaries.  After 5 months we decided enough was enough.  The medications and ultrasounds were expensive and didn’t seem to be helping.  So we decided to stop treatment and see how things progressed on their own.

My first cycle after the 6 month mark was incredibly difficult.  Not only did I feel like hope was lost since our “window of opportunity” had passed, but I was in a lot of physical pain too.  I suspected that the endometriosis was returning or that another large cyst had formed.  And so I went back to see my doctor.  An ultrasound showed no cysts and so my doctor and I both figured it was the endo returning.  My doctor sat down at this point to tell me that despite being 7 months ago, she vividly remembered my surgery because of the severity of the endo.  She explained that the surgery was very difficult and that my whole pelvic region was a mess.  She said we could of course keep trying, but that we had little to no chance of ever conceiving, either on our own or with treatment.

I was completely devastated.  I cried in her office.  I cried in the car on my way back to work.  I cried in the bathroom at work.  I cried when I got home.  I didn’t know what to do or where to go.  I set up a meeting with our pastoral minister Sr. Rose Anne and spoke with her about it all. She was incredibly helpful and encouraged me to keep praying for God’s will and try to switch my focus for a while.

So we did.  We turned our full attention to our search for our first house and found one we loved.  They accepted our offer and things began moving quickly with packing up the apartment and figuring out all the logistics of buying a home and moving.   We decided to focus on the house.  Neither of us felt called to adoption so we agreed to let it be for now and revisit the issue in a year once things got settled.

Later that same month of my disappointing doctor’s visit, at the urging of my husband, I took a pregnancy test.  I was convinced it would be negative.  Despite trying to remain hopeful, my doctor’s words were embedded deep in my brain and in my heart and I fully expected to take the test, have a good cry over it, and move on with the day.

But to the amazement of myself and my husband, it was positive!  I almost didn’t believe it!  I cried but for a very different reason than all the other tests!  I cried with joy at the miracle that God had given to us.

I am blessed beyond belief to say that today I am just passed the 3 month mark in my pregnancy!  I have had several ultrasounds to monitor my progress during early pregnancy and have been able to see little baby’s hands, see him/her moving around, and to hear the precious heartbeat of our little one.  I no longer need to see my specialist and will continue with a normal pregnancy with my regular doctor!

Some people hear this and say “see you just needed to relax and think about something else.”  Or  “see it always happens as soon as you stop trying.”  But I don’t believe that.  I believe the same thing I have believed in my heart all along but that my head sometimes forgot.  That God has a plan.  That everything happens in His time, not ours.  That life is a miraculous gift and a wondrous blessing given by God, not man.

I thank all of you who have prayed for us over the years and I ask that you continue to pray for all those who are still struggling with infertility as well as for our little baby.  And please join me in rejoicing at the goodness of our Lord who has blessed us with this tiny miracle!

“Laudato Si”

butterflyPope Francis’ Encyclical  “Laudato Si, (Praise Be): On Care for Our Common Home” has generated a lot of publicity.  As is common with many media reports involving our dear Pope Francis, I am certain many things will be twisted and portions will be taken out to suit specific agendas.  I decided to give it a read myself and highly recommend it to everyone!  It is a wonderful document filled with praise for our Creator and an urgent pleading for the greater care of all His creation.  I encourage you to read it for yourself to truly appreciate all the Pope has to say instead of just the bits and pieces the media might pull out.  You can read the full encyclical here.  Here are some of my favorite quotes from the document (it was so hard to choose just a few!):

“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made” (Ps 33:6). This tells us that the world came about as the result of a decision, not from chaos or chance, and this exalts it all the more. The creating word expresses a free choice. The universe did not emerge as the result of arbitrary omnipotence, a show of force or a desire for self-assertion. Creation is of the order of love. God’s love is the fundamental moving force in all created things: “For you love all things that exist, and detest none of the things that you have made; for you would not have made anything if you had hated it” (Wis 11:24). Every creature is thus the object of the Father’s tenderness, who gives it its place in the world. Even the fleeting life of the least of beings is the object of his love, and in its few seconds of existence, God enfolds it with his affection.

The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation. Learning to accept our body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology. Also, valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognize myself in an encounter with someone who is different. In this way we can joyfully accept the specific gifts of another man or woman, the work of God the Creator, and find mutual enrichment.

In the family we first learn how to show love and respect for life; we are taught the proper use of things, order and cleanliness, respect for the local ecosystem and care for all creatures. In the family we receive an integral education, which enables us to grow harmoniously in personal maturity. In the family we learn to ask without demanding, to say “thank you” as an expression of genuine gratitude for what we have been given, to control our aggressivity and greed, and to ask forgiveness when we have caused harm. These simple gestures of heartfelt courtesy help to create a culture of shared life and respect for our surroundings.

Inner peace is closely related to care for ecology and for the common good because, lived out authentically, it is reflected in a balanced lifestyle together with a capacity for wonder which takes us to a deeper understanding of life. Nature is filled with words of love, but how can we listen to them amid constant noise, interminable and nerve-wracking distractions, or the cult of appearances?

It is in the Eucharist that all that has been created finds its greatest exaltation. Grace, which tends to manifest itself tangibly, found unsurpassable expression when God himself became man and gave himself as food for his creatures. The Lord, in the culmination of the mystery of the Incarnation, chose to reach our intimate depths through a fragment of matter. He comes not from above, but from within, he comes that we might find him in this world of ours. In the Eucharist, fullness is already achieved; it is the living centre of the universe, the overflowing core of love and of inexhaustible life. Joined to the incarnate Son, present in the Eucharist, the whole cosmos gives thanks to God.

The Father is the ultimate source of everything, the loving and self-communicating foundation of all that exists. The Son, his reflection, through whom all things were created, united himself to this earth when he was formed in the womb of Mary. The Spirit, infinite bond of love, is intimately present at the very heart of the universe, inspiring and bringing new pathways.

Eternal life will be a shared experience of awe, in which each creature, resplendently transfigured, will take its rightful place and have something to give those poor men and women who will have been liberated once and for all. In the meantime, we come together to take charge of this home which has been entrusted to us, knowing that all the good which exists here will be taken up into the heavenly feast.

The Beauty of Creation

Winter is not letting up just yet! As we are in the midst of another snowstorm it can be easy to complain about the weather. Instead, I decided to re-blog a post I had written two years ago to invite all of us to look for the beauty in God’s creation. God’s wondrous works can be seen even in the icy weather that surrounds us. Let us all take a moment today to see His glory surrounding us.

roses near running waters

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is the friend of silence.  See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence;  see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…. We need silence to be able to touch souls.” ~Blessed Mother Theresa

The beauty of creation surrounds us everywhere.  In the trees, flowers, rivers, waterfalls, animals, mountains, deserts, jungles…the list goes on and on.  For me, I find that being in nature always makes me feel closer to God.  It’s hard to walk through the woods on a beautiful crisp fall day with the sun shining through the colorful leaves without thinking of the Creator.  When you look out at the sun rising over the ocean with water and sky merging in glorious colors as far as the eye can see, how can you not marvel at what our God has created?    In the midst of these gorgeous…

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Every Little Thing

Do you ever have moments where you wonder what in the world you are doing?  Do you have times where you look back at the tasks you completed that day and think, “What did it even matter?” I know I do. I think that most of us do.

Not every day is filled with life changing adventures.  Not every task is monumental.  And sometimes we simply can’t see past the dull moments of our day to the bigger purpose behind it all.  Sometimes the paperwork in the office, the cleaning up after the kids, the studying for exams, seems almost like a waste of time.  We look back at our day and wonder what we really accomplished.  So some paperwork got filed, the living room is a bit cleaner, I may get an A instead of a B on that test…but in the grand scheme of things, does it even make a difference?

The danger in this way of thinking is that we forget that God placed us where we are.  He gave us the abilities to perform the tasks we dread or that seem so insignificant.  He has us right where we are in life for a reason!

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17

Every little thing that we do matters.  Whether we realize it now or not.    Even if no one else sees the little things we do, our God does.  He knows the effort we put into our daily work.   He gave us the physical ability to clean the house, the mental capacity to study and learn more.  He blessed us with the jobs we have, even when they seem small.

 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

As Christians we are called to do everything for God’s glory.  He has a plan far greater than we can fathom and if a part of that plan involves us doing the dishes, responding to endless emails, or sitting through lectures at school, who are we to question the plan of God?

In being thankful for every moment of every day and giving all the glory to God, our perspective changes.  We see the possibilities around us rather than feeling trapped where we are.  We find ways to shine the light of Christ through even the smallest ways.  We become more in tune with the person God is calling us to be and are better able to hear His voice when He calls to us. 

As we go about our daily tasks, let us all work to remember that God made us and has placed us where we are in life for a reason.  Let us remember to give thanks for our abilities and accomplishments, no matter how small they seem.  And let all that we do be done in love and for God’s glory so that we might bring other close to Him and may become more and more like Christ.

“Remember that nothing is small in the eyes of God. Do all that you do with love.” St. Therese of Lisieux

Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels

180px-Guardian_Angel_1900Today is the Memorial of the holy guardian angels.  In Psalm 148 we read that all creation joins together in praise of our Creator.  Angels, animals, even the sun, moon and stars join together in praise of the Lord!  How glorious to praise the Lord for eternity!  As I marvel at how awesome it must be to be in the presence of God praising His name forever, I am reminded that I am called to do this here on earth as well!

We are called to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)  As we go about our daily lives we have families to care for, mouths to feed, groceries to buy, bills to pay, work to do, and the list goes on and on.  To pray throughout these daily tasks can sometimes be difficult.  We can pray through our actions as we lovingly care for families, we can pray silently or aloud as we drive in the car or complete certain tasks.  But we all know that there are moments in our lives when we get caught up in the stress of the day to day to-do list.  There are times when, if we are honest with ourselves, we are not in prayer.  And when we let our guard down and lose focus of God, we can be vulnerable to spiritual harm or temptation.  Our guardian angels are sent to guard us in all our ways if we but call upon the Lord.

“Because you have made the Lord your refuge,  the Most High your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you,  no scourge come near your tent.  For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.  On their hands they will bear you up,  so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.” (Psalm 91:10-12)

Our God is always with us.  We need only to call upon His name and know that He is protecting us and is by our side.  Furthermore, we know that He will send His angels to guide us so that we will not so much as dash our foot against a stone!  No evil shall befall us if we place our trust in Him.  This means more than the familiar image of the guardian angel guiding the little children to safety.  Certainly the angels guard over children (Matthew 18:10), but the angels are sent to us as adults too; for we are all children of God.  Our guardian angels are sent from the Father to help us in any time of need when we call on His name.  This includes guiding us from spiritual harm by praying by our side.  The angels are in constant praise of our Lord and Savior forever and ever.

“Bless the Lord, you angels of the Lord; sing praise to him and highly exalt him forever” (Daniel 3:59)

We are human beings.  We make mistakes.  We get caught up in earthly life and forget to praise the One who gave us life to begin with!  We see the pile of dishes, the unpaid bills, the mountain of work that needs done.  We see death, sickness, sorrow.  And without meaning to, we allow these things to consume our thoughts and minds.  The devil creeps his way into our minds to try and convince us that these things are negative.  He tries to bring us down, beat us up, so that we feel lost and helpless.  The devil wants us to look at what surrounds us and see the negative, rather than the positive.   Instead of seeing the dirty dishes and being thankful for the food we had to eat, we can get caught feeling grumpy at more chores to do.  Instead of being thankful for the medical achievements that have helped so many people, we grow angry at what we have not yet accomplished.  We are only human and these things happen.  When the negativity surrounds us and we feel the temptation of the devil to turn our hearts away from God, we only need to call on the name of the Lord and His angels will be sent to protect us! 

At those moments when we forget to pray or when we are distraught and discourage and cannot seem to find the words, we can look to our guardian angels to guide us spiritually and to lift up the prayers of our hearts. The ones we may not even fully know.  The prayers for God’s will in our lives, for patience and for an increase of faith.   Prayers to be more like Christ, to allow Him to work through us.  Prayers to see His glory in everything we do. 

“Another angel with a golden censer came and stood at the altar; he was given a great quantity of incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar that is before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.” (Rev. 8:3-4)

The angels are sent to guard us in all our ways.  To protect us from harm both physical and spiritual.  To lift up our prayers to God when we cannot seem to find the words.  God hears the prayers from the depths of our hearts even when we are struggling to find the words.  When we feel tempted to see the negativity in our world, when we feel the devil trying to sneak into our lives and replace light with darkness, we call on the Lord who sends angels to guard us and to carry our prayers up to God. 

Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
To whom God’s love
commits me here,
Ever this day,
be at my side,
To light and guard,
Rule and guide.  Amen

Happy Anniversary!

Tomorrow my husband and I will celebrate our 2nd anniversary as a married couple! In some ways I cannot believe it has been two whole years! It seems like yesterday we were planning the wedding, decorating the hall, and standing up in front of our family, friends, and God to pledge our love and lifelong commitment to each other. In other ways, though, it seems much longer than two years as I feel like I have known my husband forever!

I don’t mean to make this a mushy post…but I think it is important to focus on the wonderful blessings we have! Sometimes it can be easy to focus on we we lack or what we think is best for us instead of trusting in our Father’s plan. I know for me I sometimes get caught up in finances, those darn student loans, someday buying a house, and hoping for a baby. And while there is nothing wrong with saving money for a house, cutting out some extras to try and erase those student loans quicker, and praying that we might be blessed with a child, I have to make sure that those things do not become my focus. I have to be sure that I do not spend my energy on devising plans for the future rather than taking in the moments God has given me now. It is so important for us to count our blessings and praise the Lord for all He has given us. Nothing lifts your spirits more than taking in the wonder that surrounds you and praising the Creator of it all.

I feel very blessed to have such an amazing man in my life. He is so romantic, sweet, funny, smart, handsome, and most of all, he brings me closer to God. I thank the Lord everyday for bringing us together and I wanted to share with you today this song. It was our first dance at our wedding reception and I just think it is lovely. Enjoy!

The Beauty of Creation

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is the friend of silence.  See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence;  see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…. We need silence to be able to touch souls.” ~Blessed Mother Theresa

The beauty of creation surrounds us everywhere.  In the trees, flowers, rivers, waterfalls, animals, mountains, deserts, jungles…the list goes on and on.  For me, I find that being in nature always makes me feel closer to God.  It’s hard to walk through the woods on a beautiful crisp fall day with the sun shining through the colorful leaves without thinking of the Creator.  When you look out at the sun rising over the ocean with water and sky merging in glorious colors as far as the eye can see, how can you not marvel at what our God has created?    In the midst of these gorgeous landscapes, we are reminded of the wonder of our God.  We are reminded of His perfection.  The next thought I usually have is, with all of this wonderous perfection…what have we done to it?

God created everything we see.  We have all heard the creation story countless times. (Genesis 1)  God created the heavens and the earth, the light and the darkness, the sea and the sky, all things that grow, all creatures of the sea, sky and land, and man in His very own image.  He saw everything He created, and it was good.  He didn’t look at what he had created with regret or determine that only some of His creations were a success.  He looked at everything He had made and found it to be good.  In that very beginning everything was good.  Just as God had created it.  Man was given dominion over animals but was also given animals to be companions.  Everything was peaceful and glorious until sin entered the world.

Since then, we have lost sight of the beauty and perfection of nature.  Our God has created such beauty and we are the ones who choose again and again to mess it up.  The trees and mountains and the sea seem to show creation as it was intended.  Beautiful.  Silent.  We are too often surrounded by the noise of our modern-day society to notice the beauty of the earth.  Sometimes we are too concerned with our own personal needs to look upon the needs of God’s creation.  We have an obligation to care for His creation. In caring for His creation, we can better care for the people who are a part of that creation.  By taking care of the plants and animals and doing what we can to reduce pollution, these are things we can do to protect God’s creation and thus make the world a better place for everyone. Pope Benedict XVI spoke of this at the 2010 World Day of Peace when he chose the theme “If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation.”  You can read his full message here http://conservation.catholic.org/ along with several other passages speaking of creation.

Taking care of creation includes animal life as well.  I recently saw the new movie “Big Miracle” with my husband (it’s the one about the 3 Alaskan whales tarpped in the ice).  It was a wonderful movie and when we left the theater I thought, how awesome that everyone came together for these beautiful whales!  Wouldn’t it be even more awesome if we could all work together to protect every aspect of creation?  Including animals, plants, land, sea, sky, and people too! We need to do what we can to care for animals and respect them.  God created all creatures and we need to do what we can to keep them from becoming endangered or extinct, just like we need to do our part to protect the forests and rivers that God created and just like we need to protect our fellow man. 

In Psalm 148, all of creation is praising God.  If even the trees and the rivers can praise God for what He has made, how much more should we praise our Creator?  By looking at His creation we are reminded of everything we are given.  We are called to join in praise with the heavens, the angels, and all of creation!  This is such a beautiful thought.  It almost seems like a fairy tale.  All the trees and mountains andlions and elephants and even whales joining in praise with the angels and with all people, young and old.   But this doesn’t have to be a fairy tale picture.  When we are immersed in nature, at the ocean , walking in the park, climbing in the mountains, we can silently offer our prayers of praise to God with the land we are surrounded by.  We can care for the creation surrounding us, from the land to the sky to the creatures that we share this earth with.  And we can care for the people.  For our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We are all a part of creation and can all do our part to protect every aspect of creation that we are able.  And to forever praise our God.  To open up with creation like the roses open up near running water.  Open up our souls to the glory and praise of our God.