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Archive for March, 2012


Newly sprouted tomato plant with "rain" drops from the artificial atmosphere of the mini-greenhouse where I started the seeds. Taken with the ubiquitous cell-phone camera.

Dear Young Mom

Dear Young Mom,

You’ve been mom for a while now. You’re not “new Mom” anymore.

Your older children don’t need diaper changes and can help you entertain the baby.

You’ve developed so many skills and latent abilities that those who have known you since pre-Mom days are amazed — and proud.

Your husband is working hard.

Sometimes he comes home with stories of the working moms in his office.

Sometimes it seems like he’s wishing you were one of them.

Your girlfriends from high school and college are all on the fast track to achieving Something. Most of them haven’t even married yet, let alone had kids, so you are alone.

You believe strongly. Your faith is of supreme importance to you. In fact, your faith provides both the core and the framework for your life. Your faith in God is the reason you started this whole marriage/family thing to begin with.

But money is tight. Your husband works long, hard hours. You spend a lot of time alone with the kids.

Maybe you compensate by eating little things which taste good. Maybe you stay up late watching romantic movies. Maybe you spend a lot of time on the computer, talking with anyone who is there.

Maybe you don’t really feel like you’re pulling your weight. You think, “I should/could/would be helping carry the financial load! At my hands, his salary is consumed!”

You think, “I am not doing my duty to God! I don’t pray/fast/meditate/donate/support charity/volunteer/evangelize enough!”

You consider your college roommate’s latest email about her acceptance to her second Master’s degree program and spring break trip to Tanzania, and you wonder if you are doing enough in the world.

Perhaps you find yourself in a frenzied panic when these thoughts overwhelm you. Maybe you have gained many pounds from the little good-tasting things.
Maybe you are exhausted from late-night movie watching.
Maybe you are in debt with a garage-full of “product” from the several home-based businesses at which you have tried and failed.

Look down at your feet.

What do you see?

Small hands clutching at you.

Small faces peering up at you.

People who need you.

People to whom you are the only one in the world who matters.

My dear, your biology lab partner from high school is earning money and respect because of Something she does.

You are irreplaceable because of who you are.

You will never NOT be their mother. You will always be their fundamental relationship.

Even if you were to die tonight, you would always be their original protagonist. The one who gave them life. The one who gave them half their genome.

It’s all about you! And you must be all about them.

Think about your life.

The presence or absence of your mother is a critical factor in who you are.

Your relationship with her, supportive or abusive, has shaped your world.

If you have struggles, chances are good you blame them in some part on your Mom.

If you have a particular talent, chances are good it was your Mom who helped you develop it.

It’s Mom who makes the difference.


You are Mom to these little people.

Don’t use your mental strength to try your hand at earning money. That’s why God gave your husband a job. Instead, pour yourself into truly knowing your children’s personalities. Their strengths, their weaknesses. Devise loving ways to inspire virtue in them. Consider how you can make them laugh.

Put away the movies and the computer and get some good, solid, regular sleep. Seven hours, as best as baby’s schedule will allow. Your self-control will be rewarded by mental clarity and joyful children whose mother is not screeching at them in a state of overwhelmed exhaustion.

Don’t buy the Twinkies, the chocolate, or the chips. All happy little indulgences must be worn on the body, and in fact wear your down. Eat all three meals, and if you’re hungry in between, eat a nutritionally valuable snack. You’re breastfeeding, Dear One. Eat! Drink water! Your babies will grow better if your low blood sugar is not screaming at them.

And finally, you beautiful, hard-working woman, God has placed you in Motherhood as your state-in-life. If He tells you to fast, fast from TV, not from breakfast. When He says ‘pray,’ say your prayers aloud while you sit among your little ones playing on the floor. If He calls you to meditate, recognize how in your state-in-life, meditation happens while doing the dishes.

You are so strong and so capable, so faithful and so full of potential that you have been called to make the ultimate sacrifice: yourself.

Your high school friends have put their kids on hold to raise their careers.

You are called to something Different, something Higher.

You are called to be Mom.


Part of our heavenly family, caught on a winter night with a red rose to match St. Veronica's garment.

Another evening shot.


Mother Mary covers us with her shadow mantle.

The Father hides us in the shadow of his wings.

Our Brothers and Sisters, the Saints, are clothed to match our Mother.  Their good deeds are roses pressed into her hands.

Mary’s Long Shadow

Mary's long shadow covers the Church.

This shot was taken on a winter evening with my cell phone camera.

My New Book Is Out

Book of Names CoverThe Book of Names

 …chronicles the stories and names of all 3,877 people who died from surgical abortion on April 5, 2011.

Information is here: https://www.createspace.com/3807820

It was my Lenten writing project last year, and my hope is that it will highlight what we lose when a person is killed. Not simply their irreplaceable life, but those of their children, grandchildren, great-grands, and posterity until the end of the world.

Too many to count.

Please tell a friend about this little volume, just the right size to slip into your purse or pocket and digest in little snippets.

Strange coincidence: A Chinese friend told me today that April 5 is the traditional Chinese day to go to the cemetery and honor the dead.

How apropos.

Changing the Air Filters

It’s March, and time for the quarterly change of the furnace air filter.

It’s my only foray into the foreign world of the furnace and it’s sharp-cornered arteries, but I do it for the sake of the household air quality.

The hinge on the filter door doesn’t work, so I pound it open, pull out the old filter gently, so as not to create an allergenic dust storm, and quickly pop it into a plastic garbage bag.

After turning the new filter around several times, searching the recesses of my memory for an indication of the direction of airflow through the ducts, I finally hope for the best and push it in, pounding the sheet-metal door back into place.

The bag goes to the outside trash. I don’t want it inside, spreading dust around.

Amazing how thick the buildup on the filter. They say monthly changes are needed if you have someone with allergies in the house, but I can see how more frequent changes could be good for everyone.

…which all came to mind in the Confessional this afternoon.

It has been a full month since I changed my proverbial filter, exchanging the sin encrusted version, thick with dusty imperfections, and polluted intentions for the crisp cleanliness of a soul washed by grace.

The Church only requires Confession once a year, around this time, but in the same way my house would make me sick if I changed the filter only once a year, quarterly Confession is more healthful, monthly Confession better, and bi-weekly Confession, optimal.

When I’m done purifying the air quality in my spiritual “house,” I leave the dirty filter in the Confessional and let Our Lord take out the trash.

Have you changed your filter, lately?

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