My First Day with Miriam

I hope all is well with all of you.  I realize this post is coming out of the blue. Maybe I’ll start writing on here again. Maybe not. I’m not sure. But tonight I felt called to share a poem I wrote recently about my newest daughter Miriam. Enjoy friends:

I lay in bed the day after my daughter’s birth
And gaze at her face totally overwhelmed.
No matter how long I look I cannot satisfy my desire.
I can’t look enough.
The preciousness of this moment and her beauty
Are more than I can ever hope to absorb.

I take pictures of her
But the pictures look nothing like what I see.
I see an angel with one foot still in Heaven.
Her face contains a purity and beauty
that can only come from God.
No words can describe,
no picture capture,
and no heart contain the precious beauty I see in her.
An angelic spirit that has come to me
in the tiniest of packages.
In her face I see the face of God
And my soul swells and explodes in unspeakable love.

So I sit there trying to take it in with my eyes
But my heart cannot contain her beauty
any better than my camera.
I am overwhelmed with love
And a desire to stay in this moment forever
just adoring her.

In this ecstasy my joy and love are penetrated at their depths
by profound sadness and fear.
I know that this moment cannot last forever.
In fact it is running away from me
Fleeing before my very eyes.
I know that in an instant the sleeping infant beauty I hold in my arms will be talking to me like her older brother.
Then a few moments later she will be picking her own outfits and dressing herself like her big sister.
And in just another minute she’ll be ready for kindergarten like her oldest brother.
I have been here before
Holding angels of unspeakable beauty
And each of those moments runs away from me just as this one is.

Then I remember the look in my mother’s eyes as she sat next to me last night
Watching as her baby held her newest grandbaby.
Wasn’t it just yesterday that she sat where I was
Holding her own angel?
Will I be where she is tomorrow
With my life half over and my children no longer angels
But adults holding angels of their own?

I feel an overwhelming sadness well up within me
Mingled with a slight sense of panic.
My life is speeding by
filled with moments of intense beauty such as this
That I can never enjoy or experience enough.

And then it hits me
It is not just this moment that is precious and sacred.
It is every moment.
Every waking moment of my blessed life
The good, the bad, the sad, the dirty, the joyful, the angry, the painful.
God has infused beauty and blessing
Into every instant of my life
The same as this one.
And every instant of my life is fleeing before my eyes.
Before I know it,
I will be experiencing my last moments
wishing I had enjoyed and experienced my life even more than I did.
But I know full well it can never be enough.
That is why it is so precious.

The fear and sadness of this thought
Is barely outweighed by the joy and love of this moment
Holding my new daughter in my arms.
Filled with joy and sadness
Love and fear
I weep.

I have only one choice.
These moments will continue to fly by
And the only appropriate response is gratitude.
I repeat in my soul the same prayer of gratitude that I have offered so many times already in these past 24 hours.
Thank you God.
Thank you for all of this.
Thank you for every single moment of my life
Including and especially this one.

Then I think to myself
‘Do not forget this as you go home
and continue to live out each good, bad, sad, dirty, joyful, angry, painful moment
how precious each one is.’
I feel the desperation of a woman who has realized, yet again, that she is mortal
and this blessed life will one day end.
I plead with myself to experience and enjoy – every – single – moment
With utmost gratitude.


In Praise of Doubt.

I had always considered doubt, in the religious sense, to be a negative thing. It was a mental process to be fought against, a character trait that was flawed. I am the queen of doubt, from my own perspective at least. I experience doubt of everything from the existence of God, to the divinity of Christ, to the relevance of religion. For many, many years I would bring it up in confession, asking forgiveness for my lack of faithfulness. While not continuous, every ebb and flow of doubtfulness would consume me with grief … until just recently. Continue reading

My Word for the Year: An Alternative to Resolutions.

I am a big fan, if an irregular practitioner, of yoga. It’s simultaneous care of one’s mind, body and spirit is of great value in a culture that has separated these elements. (Thanks a heap Descartes.) One of my favorite things about yoga is that at the beginning of a practice, many instructors will invite you to form an intention and then continually revisit that intention throughout the practice. It gives a specific meaning and significance to your practice, as well as giving your mind something to return to when it gets distracted.

I was talking to my aunt the other day and she has been participating in what I consider a very intentional practice of selecting a single word for her year and letting it be a reference point for her experiences. In theological jargon, it’s like selecting a hermeneutical lens for the year.

So it occurred to me, why not combine these concepts? Continue reading

The Censorship of Death in the Lives of Our Children.

One of the biggest challenges I face as a parent is making decisions about when to have those ‘big talks’ about serious issues with my kids. Talking about big issues, like death, is something that I take very seriously. My personal parental policy is based on openness and honesty. Seeing a child begin to wrap their mind around the concept of death is a difficult, yet fascinating, thing. Death is always a scary thing to think about, even for adults. However, my conviction is that hiding children from unpleasantness, and in this particular case sheltering them from death, isn’t doing them any favors. I would even go so far as to say that it makes things scarier for kids in the long run. Continue reading

My Three-Year Old’s Reflections on the Sorrowful Mysteries.

About 2 months ago, our family committed to saying the Rosary every Tuesday evening. This commitment was actually instigated by the horrors of ISIS violence. I was feeling overwhelmed by the evil being committed and, in the midst of my anxiety, I clearly felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to respond to this evil with the spiritual weapon of prayer. And thus the Tuesday night Rosary for Peace was born in our house. I invited every Catholic I knew who lived nearby to come and pray with us. The beautiful thing about opening this weekly family rosary up to our friends as well is the accountability it provides. There may be some weeks where it is just our family praying, but knowing that any of our friends may join us on any given Tuesday helps us keep this commitment… even when kids are fighting and whining and turning into pumpkins as they were tonight.

So now that I’ve given the context and setting for tonight’s post, I’d like to share some particulars of Julian’s reflections on our Rosary tonight. Continue reading

Trouble in Breastfeeding Paradise: Mastitis, Strikes, and More.

Depending on who you are this post could fall into an FYI category or a TMI category. I did warn you didn’t I?

This past week was a rather miserable one, baby-wise, and it was all because of problems in breastfeeding paradise. It all started because Oscar has been teething and grouchy the past few weeks. In fact, all the grouchiness seemed to start right after I wrote this post, almost as though I blog-jinxed my baby. Anyhow… he’s getting those lovely incisors in right now, which I can’t imagine it feels too good. As he has been teething Oscar has bitten me while nursing several times. While I am not OK with being a chew toy, I wasn’t sure how to stop him and so we forged on.

Then one such time when Oscar bit me, I ended up getting Mastitis, more commonly known as a breast infection. Lovely. Continue reading

A New Game Plan of Authentic Self: And You Thought I Was Being Honest Before.

Since my great Facebook exeunt my readership has dropped off to the point where I am now confident that the majority of those still reading are family and close friends. And do you know what my response is? Perfect. There is a sort of safety in knowing that only those closest to me are reading. It is also a sort of reassurance that you really care, or let’s face it, why would you still be reading? It also causes me to reconsider my focus, my standards and my frequency in writing. It seems to me that after one year of blogging, I need to reassess how things were going, and what updates and changes I ought to make in how I do things here. Continue reading