I really didn’t think I’d be able to read all the way through Recipe for Joy: A Stepmom’s Story of Finding Faith, Following Love, and Feeding a Family by Robin Davis (Loyola Press) in time for today’s blog tour. I figured, at best, I’d sit down with the prologue, peruse a few pages, and make a stab at saying something. But this book pulled me in from the very first paragraph and kept me reading long past the time I had allotted myself. In fact, I’m still reading, slowly, happily, hungrily. I’m about three-quarters of the way through, but I don’t want to rush it because there is so much to savor — beautiful writing, a surprising and heartfelt and faith-filled story, recipes, humor, family, motherhood. Everything you could ask for, really. Read more
I am so proud of our little Brownie troop. We started out this year on a Girl Scout “Journey,” one that required us to tell our story — and to change the end of someone else’s story, or at least make the story better for them. After going through a series of ideas, everything from book drives to food drives, our girls voted to make Mother’s Day gift bags for the almost-two dozen teenage mothers who live at Albany residences run by Community Maternity Services, an agency of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany. Read more
Today I’m honored to be hosting Marge Fenelon and her blog tour for Imitating Mary: Ten Marian Virtues for the Modern Mom(Ave Marie Press). We’ve got a great interview with Marge here, and as if that’s not exciting enough, there’s a book giveaway involved. Just leave a comment on this post, and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Imitating Mary. I’ll choose a winner at random when the tour ends on May 1. Read more
Today, in the midst of my absolute craziness, I was given the gift of a little sacred moment in an unlikely place. And, as far as I’m concerned, those are the best sacred moments, and usually the ones we need most.
After my haircut this morning, I ran into the library to grab a book waiting on hold for me, the whole time thinking about how I didn’t have a spare minute for any of these errands and activities. As I headed back out, I looked down the side hallway in the library’s entry and stopped short. Read more
Seven years ago today my beautiful and brave Chiara Elizabeth was born. Seven. Where did the time go? Seven years ago at this time I was waiting for my castor oil cocktail to kick in so I could bring on my extremely overdue delivery without being induced via IV. Called my midwife, told her what I did and to expect me later that day. Right around noon labor kicked in, right on schedule. At just about 7:30 p.m, Chiara entered the world, and what joy she has brought to our family ever since.
I’ve written a lot about the benefits of being an older mom — I was just about 43 when Chiara was born — because every day I am the one who continues to learn new lessons from this fearless little being. Just a few weeks ago Chiara’s absolute courage at the top of the Shotgun Falls at a Wildwood water park inspired me to go down on the chute next to her. Two days ago she insisted on going off the diving boards at the town pool, something I have yet to do. Although I am often hesitant to let her do things out of my own fear, she will have none of that.
Her enthusiasm and sensitivity, her courage and kindness teach me on a daily basis how to be a better person. Happy birthday, baby. I love you, and I’m so glad I decided to forget my old age and become a mom one more time.
I’m used to being the oldest mom in a crowd, at least when it comes to spending time with my youngest, Chiara, who is only 6 years old. Having had her just before I turned 43, I am closer in age to some of her classmates’ grandparents rather than their parents.
Although on the surface that might seem to be a negative, when I am willing to look beyond the inevitable challenges of being an older mom — like not having nearly the same energy level I had when I was running around with my first 15 years ago — I think being of an “advanced maternal age,” as they say in the OB/GYN industry, has it benefits. Wisdom is the obvious gift that comes with age, but also a deeper appreciation for making the most of the moment when you’re in it. As I approach the half-century mark, I have become all too aware of how fleeting this life is, how quickly my 15 years of motherhood have passed and how quickly the next 15 years are likely to fly by. Read more
Noah will officially turn 15 at 7:11 p.m. (technically that’s Central Time). I cannot think of his newborn days without thinking of this song. The two of us danced around our Texas living room to the beautiful words and melody by John Lennon, with me crying the whole time. Even now, tears are rolling down my face as I listen to it while posting. It reminds me of those early days, my first days as a mother, and it reminds me how quickly life passes us by if we’re not careful to pay attention, and even if we are.
Happy Birthday, darling Noah. Here’s our song. (I’ve threatened to dance to it with him at his wedding some day.)
Just about one year ago, when I spent 11 days in Rome, I had the chance to visit the Church of St. Augustine (seen here) multiple times since it was just around the corner from Santa Croce University, where I was attending a seminar for journalists.
In this beautiful church, complete with an altar and angels by Bernini and paintings by Raphael and Caravaggio, is the tomb of St. Augustine’s mother, Monica, whose feast we celebrate today.
I knelt before her tomb, so grateful just to be in Rome, and whispered prayers for all the moms who had asked me to remember their intentions while I was in the Eternal City. And I prayed for mothers everywhere, because no matter what our background, no matter how much we do, we often think its not enough, that we are not enough.
So today, as then, I am remembering all the moms I know and those I don’t, praying we find the patience and strength we need to live out our vocations fully and joyfully and that we also have eyes to see not only where we think we fall short but where we are doing our best — teaching our children, serving our families, trusting in God — day after day, year after year.
I remembered all of you this morning as I said Morning Prayer, and I will remember you again in just a little while when I go to Mass. Please remember me in your prayers as well. And let us turn to St. Monica for comfort when we do come up against those hard times and wonder how we will get through. She was living proof that the power of persistent prayer can change lives — our own and those of our children.
It’s a rare moment when the Vatican can reaffirm the Incarnation and at the same time appease earth mothers everywhere, but Church officials pulled off that amazing feat recently when they declared that artistic images of Mary nursing the infant Jesus should be “rehabilitated.” It seems the images, which were quite common back in the day, were banned around the 16th or 17th century when breasts became taboo and were seen as either medical or erotic but, as is always confounding — at least to me, not for the natural, God-given purposes for which they were created. The painting above, “Nursing Madonna” by the Italian Renaissance artist Andrea Solari, is one of the shocking depictions in question. Aren’t we humans too funny?
Of course Mary nursed Jesus. Back before the medical community convinced the world — at least the industrialized world — that a man-made made powder full of artificial ingredients with names too long to pronounce was better than the absolutely perfect nutritional make-up of mother’s milk, everyone nursed. Can you imagine Mary, during the flight to Egypt, trying to find a Wal-Mart so she could pick up a case of Similac? Read more
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