Friday, August 31, 2012

40 Days for the USA

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the next prayer campaign that Catholic Sistas is promoting. This will be our third 40 Days of Prayer campaign during the last several months. We want lots of people praying with us on this one. Our cause this time is our great country, the United States of America.

The campaign starts on Saturday September 1. That's tomorrow! This is a critical time in our country and our prayers are very much needed right now. You can join the event page on Facebook to get the daily updates during the campaign. The Catholic Sistas Facebook fan page will also post the daily prayers and I will try to post them on the fan page for Journal of a Nobody too. We'd also appreciate it if you would promote this campaign to all your friends.

Even if you can't pray the prayers along with us each day, please keep our country in your daily prayers during this time and long afterwards as well.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, patroness of the United States of America, pray for us.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Frequently Asked, Never Answered

St. Benedict and his twin
sister St. Scholastica
I'm often asked some variation on the question:

How much harder is handling twins than handling one?

I put any question that is remotely related to this one in the same category. My honest answer: I have no idea.

Truly. I have no idea. Because I don't know any different. I can imagine, but that isn't reality because I haven't been there. Those conversations are always so funny. Not just to me, but also to the person I'm speaking with. I think people are so fascinated by twins that they ask this (or something similar) of me and then realize what they have asked me. You know the feeling, right? As soon as the words leave your mouth you think, "Duh!" I know, believe me! I do it frequently. So of course we all end up getting a big laugh out of it.

However if I were to imagine life with twins after a singleton I would have to say that yes, I think handling twins would feel more challenging. I have a friend who has a son and is currently pregnant with twins. I may have to ask her and then start using her answers when I get this question. But for me, this is just what life with kids has always been like, there has always been two of them.

When I did that local radio interview a few months back one of the questions I was asked was my advise for someone having twins. It's not exactly the same question, but sort of a close cousin to it. I feel like I tripped over the question a bit and my mind blanked for a second. The only thing that popped into my head was being organized. It felt silly saying it and I think my interviewer was a little lost on how to follow up on that one. I don't blame him, I would be too. Heck, he has seven kids, he and his family probably need more organization than I do with my two. But what can you do. Radio. Live. No editing. There you have it.

Here's the thing, though. I have no advise. Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm lame. But honestly, I am just like any first time mom. I truly know nothing. I'm learning as I go. And really, I'm discovering, that is what parenthood is all about. Yep, just one big trial and error. It's a miracle kids can grow up to be normal adults at all.

So in the end, I never answer this question. I can't answer this question, though I know some people who can or will be able to one day. I'm happy to direct you to those individuals. ::smile::

The question I would love to answer for you one day: What is it like having one after having twins? One day, hopefully, God will gift us with the ability to answer that question.

Just not quite yet. I'm still enjoying my two.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday (with captions)

Peter before, not so sure

Ethan before, checking things out

Peter: Get me outta here!

Finally back in Daddy's arms!

Ethan done, still a little upset

Home and happy, handsome boys!
Look!! Our ears grew!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Bug has Bitten

And it's not a good one. I am taking a (hopefully very) short blog hiatus for sickness. I had a great post idea in mind to work on Sunday night for Monday morning, but it will now have to wait. :( Hopefully I'll feel better soon and will be back in time for Wordless Wednesday (because I have something totally fun planned for that!).

I hope everyone had a much better weekend than I did. Take care, faithful blog readers!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday Smiles, no. 8

Last week in my Saturday Smiles post I talked about nature. And you know what? I'm going to do it again. Because sometimes, nature is the best place to find God in your life.

The weather here turned cool for a brief time this week. It was awesome! We opened the windows for a few nights and I actually slept with the comforter wrapped around me. I love feeling bundled up, all warm and toasty. But the best part was that I got to sit out on my back porch one evening and do some writing.

Oh how I love that back porch on a nice cool evening. Thank you, God, for such awesome weather!

I know it was just a tease (it's already creeping up again into the high 80s and I'm sure we haven't seen the last of the 90s yet). But even so, it was a nice reminder that fall is almost here. Soon the leaves will be changing colors and the air will be cool. We'll be able to open the windows more often and I'll be able to sit out on my porch and enjoy the cool evening air.

I love fall. I love the little hint of fall that God gave us this week. Fall can be dreary and gray to some people, but not me. I see it as representative of the cycle of life. In the fall season I see beauty as trees age and put on majestic colors. They may be heading toward their dormancy for the winter, but they get more beautiful just before that time comes.

Thank you, God, for fall. It's not here yet, but will be soon. Thank you, God, for the reminder that with age comes beauty.

What made you smile this week? How were you most aware of God's presence in your life? Share in the comments or link up your own "God moment" post from your blog by clicking the button below and filling out the fields that appear. Please also include a link in your blog entry back to this one. Thanks!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Babies love babies!!

Don't you just love seeing the fascination a young child has with a baby? A few weeks ago when we were visiting my family my youngest niece was in her infant carrier, on the floor, sleeping away as she always does. Peter and Ethan had to go check her out. This was the morning we were leaving and they really hadn't paid her much attention throughout the weekend. But that morning they couldn't help but be curious.

I have some other pictures too, but they all want to load sideways. So this is all I can share without you all having to turn your monitors or laptops sideways. You're welcome!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pink, Pink, Pink ...


Not something I see much of around here with two boys in the house. Not unless I'm wearing it!

But I'm getting an opportunity to relish in a bit of pink this summer. Two new nieces this summer, Ethan's Godparents had a baby girl in June, two other friends adopted baby girls just in the last two months, and another friend is due to have a baby girl in the next couple weeks.

So yeah ... lots of pink. I'm loving it!

Saturday morning I met up with five friends for a small baby shower brunch for the mom-to-be. It was a special time, as all baby showers are, but this one was especially special. Why so special? All six of us sitting around the table have suffered through years of infertility and/or pregnancy loss. Yet, there we sat, six women with 7 children between us, one on the way, and 4 babies in heaven.

Infertility group? What infertility group?

[Seriously though, having a child doesn't "cure" infertility. A post for another time.]

In many ways this little brunch was almost a celebration of all the miracles we as a group have received. I'm so happy for these friends of mine who have longed for children for so long and are now all mothers or soon-to-be mothers of such wonderful, special children. And so much pink everywhere!

I think Peter and Ethan will have lots of good little Catholic girls to choose from. Many, many years from now. Of course.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday Smiles, no. 7

How did I recognize God's presence in my life this week?

One morning as I pulled out of the driveway to head to work I was startled by the presence of a huge spider web in my way. It was strung up between a tree on one side of the driveway and a tall bush on the other side. From the window of my mini van I could see the thin threads stretched across the driveway just barely above my eye level. In the very center, directly in front of me was the the intricate, complex spider web. I was startled by the perfection of it and the incredible place it was hanging. Something like this amazes me, that a tiny insect could create such perfection. I don't think it is an accident, I think God created the creatures of the earth to astound us in their beauty and the things they can create. Nature has such an awesome way of showing us how awesome God is.

It also made me sad because I knew it wasn't quiet high enough to clear the top of my van. So I was the only one who got to marvel at God's awesomeness that morning.

Second, I have recently connected with another Catholic blogger that happens to live in my same city. We've been emailing and it has been fun. We've even found a few things we have in common and I find it amazing that God used the blogging world to introduce us. Thank you, God!

What made you smile this week? How were you most aware of God's presence in your life? Share in the comments or link up your own "God moment" post from your blog by clicking the button below and filling out the fields that appear. Don't forget to also include a link in your blog entry back to this one, please. Thanks!

Image source morgueFile

Friday, August 17, 2012

Silence in Music

Today I have a new article up over at Catholic Sistas. I hope you'll come over and check it out. Here is a short excerpt to peak your interest:

As a musician for more than twenty-five years I was able to relate the need for silence in our lives as Christians to the combination of musical notes and rests that together make up a musical composition. Thinking more deeply about the importance of silence in music I saw parallels to the relationship God wants to have with us.
Click on over to read more of my post "Silence of Music: God's Lesson in Listening."

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Seminarians Rock the Collar

I had such fun just this past Sunday with several events at our church. I wanted to write about it that night but I had an article I had to finish for Catholic Sistas (which is now done, look for it on Friday). So finally, here I am, sharing my Sunday with you.

What was such fun? I got to meet some of the seminarians of our diocese! Sunday was the last day of their Rock the Collar tour of the diocese and they ended it at our cathedral, which happens to be my home parish. 

The tour itself was nine days long, traveling across the diocese (a pretty big diocese, geographically speaking), and sleeping wherever the various parishes could find places for them. 13 men + 8 parishes + thousands of parishioners = numerous lives impacted and a face put on the idea of vocations.

At Mass Sunday morning we got to hear one of the transitional deacons give the homily. All the seminarians were also introduced at the end of the Mass. Later that afternoon, I went back to attend the Holy Hour and Benediction led by the seminarians. I had a great experience and I needed that time of silence and prayer before the Eucharist (more on that experience in my Sistas post on Friday).

That night we packed up the boys and headed back to church for pizza with the seminarians. One brave, very young, seminarian sat with us during dinner. He is actually a brand new seminarian starting his first year of college in just a couple of weeks. He was very nice and it was a joy talking to him. I asked him several questions during the evening and he asked us about us and tried to entertain the boys some (they just looked at him suspiciously, I think they would have been more receptive to him had he had food for them). I realized later that night after we were home that I never really asked him about his calling to the priesthood. I missed the most obvious question! But, regardless of that one oversight, I enjoyed chatting with him as I fed the boys pizza and animal crackers.

And yes, that was the boys' first taste of pizza and they loved in! No pizza was found on the floor, a sure sign that they loved it. I even broke a piece of crust in half and gave them each a piece to see how they would do with it. No one choked, so I think it was a success.

It was a great evening and I'm so glad we got to participate. I know the boys are too young right now, but I hope to continue participating in events like this. I want my boys to grow up knowing that a vocation to the priesthood is an option for them. They should be open to listening to God's will in their life and be open to following whatever calling God has in store for them. As their mother, I hope to foster such an environment. This is one small way I can start doing that with them.

This was not the first Rock the Collar tour, but I think it has been a few years between the last one and this one. I hope they continue to do these in future years. I enjoyed getting to know some of the seminarians. It definitely helps to put faces with names.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday Smiles, no. 6

Peter has a lot to smile about too!
I have had a LOT to smile about lately! God is truly wonderful. I am seeing Him bless many people in my life in extraordinary ways. And it makes me almost giddy thinking about it. But what about me?

I actually have a hard time seeing the blessings in my own life. Thus the reason I am even doing these posts, to help make me be more aware of God's presence in my life.

As I contemplated what I could write about this week so much came to mind: the wonderful things happening in the lives of some of my close friends; the joy of meeting my new niece and seeing the joy she is already bringing to her parents and siblings; the fun of spending time with family just sitting around chatting, catching up, and watching the little ones play together; the fun of meeting new friends and seeing how God is blessing them and their families; or witnessing friends coming together to help out a friend in need.

So many choices! I decided I couldn't choose just one.

Instead I see all of those things and plenty of others as one big blessing. God is working in the lives of my friends and family and I get to watch. I get to see what God is doing in other people's lives and it blesses me as well.

I guess what I am saying is that my close moment with God this week is just knowing that He is working in other people's lives and blessing them. In return I feel blessed just to know them. I may have moments when I am down and I know I've had plenty of moments when I don't feel God's presence in my life at all. But I don't lose faith because I see him working elsewhere. And that brings me joy and plenty of smiles.

What made you smile this week? How were you aware of God's presence in your life? Share in the comments below or write your own blog post and link it up here using the inLinkz form below. Please also include a link in your post back to this one.

Friday, August 10, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday, vol. 46


I still cannot believe what I saw on my way home from work Thursday evening. I stupidly took a wrong turn out of the boys' daycare and ended up circling around the nearby park to get back around to where I really wanted to be. This meant driving down a section of road that I'm not usually on. It's a nice area, lots of brick townhomes, several cottage style old houses, and plenty of big trees. It's pretty close to downtown, probably in walking distance to things on the east side of town. So as I turned onto this road, up ahead I could see what looked like a very large dog on a lease. It caught my attention because I thought it might be a Great Dane but wasn't quite sure. As I got closer I realized it wasn't a dog at all. No, it was either a small pony or a miniature horse. On a lease. Out for a walk. Um, what? I know this is KY, but who keeps a pet horse in downtown where there are tiny yards, if you even have a yard? I'm still stunned. And find it hilarious at the same time.


Okay, I had to go do some internet searching and apparently having miniature horses as pets is not that unusual. Who knew! There is even a book about owning these cool pets.


Dexterity game on a pendant
We have a very interesting collection of materials at my library. They are called Artists' books. They are works of art, but also considered books. In some cases the definition of book is rather loose. I've been working on cataloging these which gives me the opportunity to see them. I worked on one Thursday that is actually a dexterity game. You know those little plastic containers that had some sort of picture inside with little holes in it and some tiny little copper balls rolling around inside? The objective was to get all the balls into the various holes. This book opened up to show 12 of these little tiny dexterity games lined up together. Each had three balls inside to get into the little holes. Definitely doesn't look like a book, but very cool nonetheless. I love discovering these unique items. It's one of those things that makes my job cool.


And speaking of my job, something else that makes my job cool is seeing how very divergent fields can intersect with each other. I received a phone call Thursday from a librarian over in our Medical Center Library. Someone over in the College of Medicine was looking for a speaker for something they were doing who could speak on the healing powers of art and music as influenced by nature, or some such thing. She couldn't get hold of the music librarian, so she called me. We talked for a bit and then I was able to finally come up with a name of someone she could contact. [Surprised myself that I actually could even name someone on campus that could speak on that topic.] Got an email from her later in the day that the person I suggested was on board and was getting someone to speak with her about the art side of things. How cool is that! I love seeing how something like music and medicine can actually work well together. They seem so different, but they have much to learn from each other.


I don't know what was up with my drive home Thursday evening (see #1) but as I pulled into my neighborhood an ice cream truck pulled in just in front of me. He turned towards my street and proceeded to drive about 5 mph with me tailing behind him. I prayed that he would pass by my street and felt pretty confident that he didn't have a reason to turn down into my little cul-de-sac of 5 houses. But alas, he turned and I followed him at a painfully slow pace. And then he stopped, right in front of my driveway! Seriously?? I had to honk my horn to get him to move. And why is he even in my neighborhood? I think he'd get a bit more business in a neighborhood that had more children in it, which is currently not the case in my neighborhood.


We went to visit my family last weekend. It was so nice and the boys did well on the 6 hour drive down and back. They are still hesitant around strangers (and anyone they haven't seen in a long time is basically a stranger) but getting better. A few pictures from the weekend:
Cousin Caroline shows Peter how it's done

Ethan likes listening to his brother and cousins play the piano

Anna gets to meet her aunt for the first time

Ethan learns that Papa is a little crazy


Walking is in our future! I can see it. My boys are so funny! Peter took a couple steps at my parent's house this weekend. We got all excited and then that was it. He tried to walk a few more times but was so excited about doing it that he couldn't balance himself and kept falling forward. Ethan apparently had no interest. But once we were home, Peter tried a few more times, got a couple steps in once or twice, and then went back to falling over each time from over excitement. Silly boy! Then the other night, he tried again and Hubby and I burst into applause to encourage him. Ethan started clapping with us. After a few times of this I think Ethan realized why we were clapping so he started trying to stand up on his own. He didn't try taking any steps, it was just the standing up part that excited him. And oh my, the excitement on his face as he slowly balanced himself on those two little feet! Precious!

Finally, Thursday night Ethan actually took a few steps towards me. We clapped for him and he LOVED it! He immediately crawled back to where dad was sitting in the rocking chair, climbed up to a standing position, turned himself around to face me, and took a few steps before falling into my arms. We had such a good time cheering him on and he repeated the process a few more times. By the end his excitement had grown so much he couldn't even steady himself enough to stand up without falling over. 

Yes, walking is just around the corner! Any day now. 

For more Quick Takes posts, visit Jen at Conversion Diary.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

The Timeline of Loss

I got together with a friend recently to talk about our shared grief as a result of pregnancy loss. This grief has been a part of my life since March 2008. For my friend, however, it is much more recently and she is still reeling from the pain. As we talked one thing kept coming up again and again: the thought that at some point we should be done with the grief and able to move on.

If you are also dealing with a similar loss you might be interested in what I told me friend. If you know someone who is dealing with a recent loss, you should also pay attention. Here's the thing ...

There is no timeline.

I have talked with men and women who still grieve their lost children years and years later. You will never forget the children who were with you for such a short period of time. The grief never completely goes away.  You will be reminded of your child every time you see a pregnant women who is roughly where you would be if you were still pregnant or anytime you see a child who is roughly the age your child would be had he or she lived.

But I'm here to reassure you that although those things stay with you, they do get easier. Eventually, it does get easier.

And most important, there is no timeline. Let yourself be reassured that the pain, grief, and sadness you are feeling is normal. Yes, completely normal. And you do not have to be "done" grieving by any arbitrary date or event in the future.

My friend found comfort in hearing me tell her that there is no timeline. That she can grieve for as long as it takes. That no one should expect her to be "over it" by any particular point (and if they do, they are not being supportive friends). That the grief can even come back hard at random times when she least expects it. And all of this is okay.

I think it was important for her to hear me say that I still grieve for my babies. My last loss was more than two years ago now and I have had a successful pregnancy since. And yet, I still miss my babies. The grief is still there, though different now.

Time really does heal. It does not make us forget. I for one do not want to forget. But time does heal. And everyone's timeline is different.

I hope this simple thought can be helpful and reassuring to others as well.

Image source: morgueFile

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Saturday Smiles, no. 5

The graphic on our
Catholic Sistas T-shirts
It's a Saturday Smiles link-up once again!!

I had the nicest thing happen to me last Saturday. I was out for a walk with the boys, pushing them in the double stroller I have. We were in the park in the neighborhood which also has a little playground. From a distance I could a little boy in the play ground with his mother and grandmother (I presume). As we got closer I noticed that the grandmother spotted us and kept looking in our direction periodically.

As I got closer the three of them had migrated over to a corner of the playground near the walking path I was on. I was totally expecting the grandmother to say something to me about how "you certainly have your hands full" or "are they twins" or one of the other usual statements I'm used to hearing. Boy was I in for a surprise!

She smiled at me as we passed by and said, "I'll be praying for you today!"

I couldn't help by smile! My only response was, "Well, thank you" as I went on my way around the far end of the playground.

I think I smiled for the whole rest of my walk. I also realized that I was wearing my very cool "Catholic Sistas" t-shirt. I assumed that she noticed the t-shirt and therefore knew that I would be open to such a statement.

Having a complete stranger tell you they will be praying for you can be off-putting to some. We live in a society that wants to take religion out of everything to the point that we can't speak about our religious beliefs without it being labeled as hate speech.

So it was almost refreshing to hear what this nice woman said to me. Nice to know that there are people out there who are willing to wear their religion on their sleeve and not hide it in a pocket. I can't say that I am very open about my faith around strangers. I grew up with the understanding that you don't talk about religion, so I still have a hard time being completely open about it even with all the changes I have been through in the last 10 years or so.

But in that moment I felt God's presence surrounding us as I walked around the park with my boys on a beautiful day and exchanged pleasantries with a very nice stranger.

What made you smile this week? How were you aware of God's presence in your life? Share in the comments below or write your own blog post and link it up here using the inLinkz form below. Please also include a link in your post back to this one.

Friday, August 03, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday, vol. 45


We have a stander! One of the boys has started standing for a few seconds at a time. He doesn't always get his balance right away and falls on his butt. But other times he manages to balance himself enough to stay standing for just a few seconds. I find it amazing to see him stand completely on his own. He seems so unsteady, not balanced at all, and yet there he is ... standing.

Now walking ... I think it'll still be some time. But it's coming! Watch out world!


And while we're on the subject of babies, I have to report our recent successes in the food arena. First, both boys will now take and hold their bottles on their own. Thank you, Lord, my life has gotten infinitely better! Peter took to it pretty quickly, Ethan had a harder time. He'd eventually take the bottle from us and hold it himself, but when we first gave it to him he just broke down into hysterical sobbing until one of us picked it up and held it for him until he was ready to take it (which was usually half way through the bottle, plus he couldn't get the last ounce or so on his own either, so essentially, we were still holding it for him for most of the time). But now! Oh, wow! Now we can just place the bottles on their trays and they take care of it themselves! Seriously, with two of them, this truly makes a huge difference in my life!

Second, they are starting to use a spoon. Sort of. We still put food on the spoon for them and hand it to them and hover over them as they attempt to put it in their mouth, but they are doing it. Peter is funny with it. He loves holding his own spoon and has become quite adept, i.e. I don't hover quite as much. He takes the spoon from us, eats the food off of it, and then throws it on the table so we can fill it back up for him. I know I shouldn't laugh because I certainly don't want to encourage that behavior, but it is so hard. I find it hilarious!


On a totally different note, I recently discovered a new blog and I love it already. You must check out The Breadbox Letters. I love the art work she uses in her posts and the quotes she finds from a variety of saints, not to mention the reflective pieces she writes which are very insightful. After reading less than a dozen posts on this blog I'm already hooked. I really loved this post, Be Led Gently, which quotes St. Teresa of Avila. It's beautiful. If you're looking for a blog that can be inspiring, has beautiful pictures, and is a quick read, check this one out. 


Hubby got a new computer recently. Finally! His old one was soooooooo slow. I hated using it. Of course, all our picture software is on his computer which is one of the reasons I don't post pictures as much as I would like to. But now it'll be so much faster. Yay! I think he finally has everything transferred over and the picture software is ready to go. I just looked through the pictures on my camera and realized I never posted the cute-as-can-be pictures of the boys in their sneakers. They are coming! I promise! I can't tell you how many times the people at their daycare tell me how cute the boys are in their little sneakers. Pictures coming soon!!


In addition to this Quick Takes post, I also compiled a Quick Takes post for Catholic Sistas for today. It's another interview with one of our ink slinger. A fellow Kentuckian, too, though we've never met in person. Go check it out. It's a fun post. 


Have you checked out my new Saturday Smiles link-ups I've been hosting? So far I have one follower participating, but I'd love to see more. And spread the word too. It's super easy. It's a great opportunity to reflect on the week and write about something, anything, that made you aware of God in your life that week. Write up a post and then post the link on my Saturday link-up. I've made it easy by putting in the inlinkz widget too. I hope you'll come join me on Saturday!


I hope everyone has a great weekend! I'm excited to be spending it with my family. I'll get to meet my new niece, see a cousin I haven't seen in a few years, hopefully catch up with some old high school friends, and meet up with some online friends for the first time. I can't wait!

For more Quick Takes, check out Conversion Diary.