Family Togetherness, A Gift From Heaven

“The family is the first essential cell of human society.” –Pope John XXIII

Have truer words ever been spoken? Where would I be without my family? Though I put God first and foremost in my life, I would be nothing, have nothing, achieve nothing, and live for nothing if not for my family. Not seeing most of my extended family for over a year was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in life. Thankfully, that long, dry period ended this past weekend.

On Saturday, we hosted a graduation party for our middle child, Katie Ann. She graduated in May from Mount St. Mary’s University, but we wanted to give our family a little more time to be comfortable in a large gathering, so we asked them all to save the date for August 21. It made my day to get responses like, “I told the rest of the family they could do whatever they wanted, but I will be there come hell or high water,” and “I’m done with not seeing everyone.” We were all determined to be together, and not even a potential tropical storm was going to keep us apart.

Opera great, Robert Breault, is attributed with saying, “What greater blessing to give thanks for at a family gathering than the family and the gathering.” And he was so right.

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I Hope You Dance

One thing I learned at an early age is that life is not all about work, and work is not all about the absence of fun.

This past weekend, my parents were visiting for Father’s Day. Mom and I spent a little bit of time in town–we live right outside of the Maritime tourist destination, St. Michaels–and visited my girls at work, Morgan at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and Katie at Simpatico, a fabulous Italian market. We all went crabbing, along with Ken’s mom, and feasted on our catch with Rebecca and Anthony who joined us on Father’s Day afternoon. We went to Mass, did a little gardening (thank you, Dad for the new forsythia!), and relaxed, happy to enjoy Mom and Dad’s first time staying at the house since 2019.

While I was making desserts on Sunday afternoon, we listened to a playlist that I created which consists of all the music we listened to when I was a kid. At one point, I looked at my mom and said, “I made this list because all these songs remind me of non-football Sunday afternoons.” Mom smiled, knowing exactly what I meant. She added, “When we’d play all the old records and clean the house before the start of the work week.” I nodded and said, “Yep. We’d blast music while cleaning and doing laundry, but what I loved most is how we’d dance and sing while we did our chores.” Those afternoons are among my favorite childhood memories.

I learned so many lessons on those Sundays, lessons like…

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Tell Me Something Good!

Some days, writing this blog is so hard!

Some days, getting out of bed is hard.

Some days just breathing is hard.

I know I’m not the only person who feels like she’s on a roller coaster that just won’t return to the station or a merry-go-round that keeps spinning and spinning without ever slowing or stopping. When can we get off this ride? When can we leave this hellish nightmare of an amusement park? I’m so tired of being trapped in the fun house where all I’m doing is walking through the spinning barrel and trying not to fall down or making my way across the uneven floors with jets of air spraying up around me or getting lost between the mirrors of distortion. And when I get to the exit, will the slide have an end in sight or will I keep sliding and sliding, faster and faster, twisting and turning, before I tumble out into an unforeseeable future?2020 slide

When and how does all of this madness end?  Will we ever be able to… Read more

Like Riding a Bike

2020 BikesWhen I was a kid, I spent a lot of time riding my bike. I rode to my friends’ houses. I rode to the neighborhood park. I rode with my brothers in the woods behind our house, up and down the rock hill and along the trails. I rode with my mom on days when we girls just wanted to get out on our own for a short time. When I was in high school, my boyfriend and I frequently rode bikes on sunny summer days.

Several years ago, we bought bikes to take with us on camping trips. Every now and then, I’d ride mine around our little fishing village but not often. Over the lockdown this past spring, we all lowered our bikes down from the rafters of the garage and tried to take family rides, but my bike was old, and the seat was hard and uncomfortable, and I dreaded riding it. 

I think that often happens to us in life… Read more

A Summer Gained

Summer is a special time for kids. It’s traditionally a time of no curfews, no homework, no commitments, and no worries. Of course, in recent years, those wonderful, lazy days of summer have become nostalgic, a thing of the past that only people older than, say 45 or so, can remember. So many children in recent generations spend their summer being dragged from one sporting event or another, forced to participate in events and activities that will further their athletic or academic prowess, or tied so tightly to apron strings that they can’t enjoy things like flashlight tag or hide and seek in the dark. Perhaps this is one of the things we are meant to learn during this pandemic. Perhaps we are meant to recall and reinstate those lazy days of summer.2020 Morgan Maddie Summer

Perhaps we are meant to… Read more

A Journey Towards Something…

2020 OfficeThis past weekend was a bit surreal to me. My oldest daughter, Rebecca, moved out of our house three years ago after graduating from college. Together, we turned her childhood bedroom into my office. It was a bittersweet task as we combed through her belongings, separating them into things she was ready to give away, things she wanted to take with her, and things she was saving for her “real” home someday. That day seemed so far into the future… Read more

Let’s Talk…

For weeks now, I’ve listened to all sides of the debate about which lives matter. For months, I’ve tried to have an open mind about COVID-19 and all of the conflicting information. For years, I’ve tried to be empathetic to various groups of people, listen to them, and learn about them. I’ve attempted to engage others in discussion so that we can benefit from what the other has to say. I do belong to a political party, but I listen to all sides, watch various news agencies, and research voraciously to find the truth and assemble the facts. I’m not afraid to call out things that are incorrect, but I’m not too proud to listen, learn, and be told that I’m wrong. 

I say all of this not to toot my own horn but to point out something that is missing in our world today, something so vital that I firmly believe it holds the key to everything, to solving all problems, to helping all people, and to enabling all groups to get along and work together. 2020 locks

For several generations, we’ve all been told something that is wrong, just wrong. Blatantly wrong, egregiously wrong, simply, basically, and morally wrong. We’ve all heard the advice, that has now become a rule, over and over over again, and that advice is the one thing that is at the crux of all the problems we have now. We have created generations of people who have been given the very worst piece of advice to follow in an intelligent, literate, and innovative society.

We have all been told from the earliest age… Read more

Doing Small Things With Great Love

2020 Lil on porch“In every age and in every country we find many “perfect” women (cf. Prov 31:10) who, despite persecution, difficulties and discrimination, have shared in the Church’s mission…the witness and the achievements of Christian women have had a significant impact on the life of the Church as well as of society…Holy women are an incarnation of the feminine ideal; they are also a model for all Christians” –Mulieris Dignitatem, paragraph 27.

“Holy women are an incarnation of the feminine ideal.” How beautiful! “They are also a model for all Christians.” How true. This is something I know, something I learned by example, and what a beautiful example I had… Read more

“Just to Sit Still Would Be a Sin”

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Maryland Public Defender’s March for Justice

These are strange and trying times we are living in. We go from months of being isolated from the world to having the world marching outside our windows in our streets and throughout our cities and small towns, not sitting still but sitting in to stand up for justice. We have lost trust in the news, we have lost trust in some of the medical experts, and we have lost trust in each other. But the larger failing of the human race, the one that has led all of us to this moment is a greater loss–the loss of love, the fundamental loss of just loving each other, for love is the only thing that can win in this fight, and it has to be the kind of love that is the pure, unselfish, dying to self kind of love. We must imitate the greatest of all loves… Read more

Filled With the Holy Spirit

2020 El Greco Pentecost
El Greco, Pentecost (The Prado 2016)

We have received word that our church is hoping to reopen on the weekend of the celebration of Pentecost. When I first heard this news, I was thrilled, but I didn’t give much thought to any deeper meaning or significance to the timing. However, as a few days have gone by since receiving the text from our pastor, and upon finding out that many other churches are also opening that weekend, I’ve come to a realization that I find both uplifting and amazing.

Just think about it for a moment…

Live Masses across the country are going to begin happening on Pentecost Sunday.

Pentecost Sunday.

Uplifting, yes. Amazing, absolutely. A beautiful example of how God works in our lives, beyond doubt.

How? Read more