Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Unexpected Blessing of Being Open to Life

This little guy turns one today, so it seems fitting that I write a post I’ve been meaning to Evan in swingwrite for a very long time.

I’d like to reflect on the fact that, about one year and eight months ago, when Ray and I shared our news with friends and family, the overwhelming response was, “Are you serious?” or, “How could you let this happen?” or, “Raymond, you should have had that taken care of a long time ago!” or even, “You’re killing me!”

Thank God, we were serious. Thank God, we did let this happen. Thank God, Raymond hadn’t had “that” taken care of.

Because, first of all, our family was not complete without Little Man. We had one more seat in the car, a little more space in a bedroom, and tons more room in our hearts. From the moment he came into this world — smiling, I swear! —he has been a blessing to us. He has brought joy, laughter, and endless snuggles into our lives. Everyone who meets him remarks at what a happy child he is. Anyone who sees him agrees he’s one of the most beautiful babies they’ve ever seen. Each person who holds him is instantly wrapped around his little finger, and happier for having had a cuddle.

Evan standing at tableI’ve always thought this was God’s way of showing us how he will bless us when we are open to his will for us. When people would argue with me that Ray should get “snipped,” that surely we couldn’t have more children, I would point to Little Man and say, “But if we had followed your advice, we wouldn’t have him!” 

To me, Little Man was a living, breathing testament to the importance of always remaining open to life.

But then God took it one step further. Because bringing light and laughter and one more person to love into our lives wasn’t enough. If Ray and I hadn’t been open to life, to this life in particular, there would have been no baby to wake up and begin to cry on the morning of November 19th, when Ray got out of bed. There would have been no child to carry out to the family room to nurse at three in the morning. No baby to set down on the floor while I called 911. No baby to remain sitting quietly by as his mommy performed CPR on his daddy.

Evan sitting on floorNope. If we’d followed the way of the world, and the advice of most of our family and friends, there would have been no baby. I would have remained peacefully asleep that morning, and Ray’s body would have grown cold long before I awoke three hours later to find him.

Does every “surprise” baby save his daddy’s life?

No.

But this baby is a reminder that God has a plan for each and every one of us. And that we’ll never know what blessings we’ve kept from the world in the babies whose existence we’ve prevented.


 

If you’d like to see more posts like this, you might check out:

At This Most Difficult Hour, 7 Things I’m Grateful For

A Peace that Surpasses All Understanding

and one of my all time favorites:

Ugly, Squeaky, Humbling: 7 Things I Love About Our Little House

 

A Single Bead is Finally Here! (A Belated Announcement)

Seriously. What blogger has a new book release and doesn’t even get around to blogging about it until more than two weeks after release?

Ummmmm. This one.

A Single Bead CoverI was all excited back on November 18th to do my cover reveal. I set up a Rafflecopter giveaway, posted the cover to Facebook, and wrote a long blog post about how the book came into being. I had great plans for posting the cover to my blog the following day, tweeting, posting to the Books for Catholic Teens Facebook page, etc. etc. etc

I was also scheduled to spend three days at the National Catholic Youth Conference, right here in Indy, which ran from November 19th to the 21st. I was even going to be interviewed for CatholicTV’s “This is the Day” program while I was there. Ray had taken time off work to watch the kids so I could be at the conference.

But God had different plans. Instead of spending his vacation watching the baby, Ray spent those few days essentially comatose following a heart attack. Cover reveal forgotten, A Single Bead was placed on the back burner, as our family dealt with realities that would have been unthinkable only a few days before.

God works in mysterious ways, though. Because of those disrupted plans, Ray had a whooooole bunch of religious sisters from the Daughters of St. Paul praying for him, along with the people from CatholicTV, and goodness only knows who else, that would have otherwise not even known who he was.

And, even as I walked through the worst of this difficult time, I was able to recognize how writing A Single Bead, which explores the power of faith to bring us through the most challenging of circumstances, had actually prepared me for this experience.

In the sixteen days since it was released, I’ve been blessed to hear from many people who have read the book. Many of them never would have even heard of the book if the “Pray for Ray” mantra hadn’t spread across Facebook. What a blessing to realize that a book that had been pigeon-holed as Catholic, because the story revolves around lost rosary beads, has inspired and blessed people from many different faiths and backgrounds!

In her review, author and grief coach, Jeannie Ewing, says, “If you are hurting over trauma or tragedy, or if you know someone who is, purchase A Single Bead.” Ruth Anne Holloway at Holloway Family North said, “The book does a great job of “showcasing” the power of prayer in a simple and easy to follow way.” Barb Szyszkiewicz at Franciscan Mom called it “compelling” and “refreshing.”

If you haven’t ordered your own copy yet, you can click on the picture below to order it from Amazon. It is available in paperback and electronic formats. If you’ve read it and enjoyed it, please consider writing a review, and telling your friends about it. Thank you!

 

Patience

Patience has never been a virtue I excelled at. It appears God is giving me ample opportunity to learn it, however.

One morning last week, I wrote in my journal three things that I need to do better and all three of them revolved around that one virtue… Patience. Patience with others who deal with stress differently than I do, patience with my children, and patience with Ray’s recovery process, which is clearly going to take longer than the few weeks I’d like to give it. (ha ha)

Many people ask how he’s doing, and I’m struggling to answer that question. On the one hand, compared to where he was a five weeks ago (essentially comatose), he’s doing fabulously. On the other hand, compared to where he was six weeks ago, before this all happened, well…

I was forewarned that I would be too close to the process, and that it would be difficult for me to see the changes. This has revealed itself to be all too true. The changes don’t seem to be coming quickly enough.

Ray can now walk with a walker and the support of his physical therapist. He can brush Ray and Zachhis teeth, use a spoon, and drink water from a straw. He can read, although he tends to neglect the left side of the page and will skip words on that side. He can talk, and has even progressed to the point where he can converse and answer questions like, “how many kids do you have” and “What’s your wife’s name.” However, it’s a strange dichotomy. Today he accurately gave the year, but said that he is thirty years old. He knows he’s in the hospital, but he doesn’t remember what happened to put him there.

The doctors, nurses, and therapists all tell me the same thing: They don’t have a crystal ball that will tell them how much of his functionality will return, and in what time frame, though they have generally indicated that we’re looking at a two year recovery process before he reaches his new “normal.”

And so I wait, and I pray for patience. But, even as I pray, I know that I am blessed, because this experience brings me closer to Christ. Imagine the patience he had to have in order to endure his Passion without saying, “Enough!” and calling on the angels to rescue him.

And so, every day, I try to look to that example of Christ, to walk this path without crying, “Enough!” Let’s be honest. I’m not Christ, and thus there have been and there will be days when I do cry out and feel ready to give up. But, by the grace of God, following those moments of weakness, I will shake myself off, stand back up, and keep plodding along.

The more I respond as Christ would have responded, the more I am conformed to him. And the more conformed to him I become, the more complete my hope, peace, and, even in this difficult situation, joy.

Patience.

A Peace That Surpasses All Understanding

It’s now been three and a half weeks since Ray’s heart attack. From finding my husband dead on the floor, to praying while performing chest compressions, to facing a future filled with uncertainty, I have been blessed with “a peace that surpasses all understanding.”

The Mass readings throughout this Advent season have spoken to me in an entirely new and more meaningful way, so it came as no surprise last night when I looked at today’s Mass readings and saw this:

Brothers and sisters: Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:4-7)

In the past few weeks, so many people have marveled at how “strong” I’ve remained dolphin cruise allthrough all of this. Honestly, when people say this, I feel like a complete and total fraud. I’m not strong. My God is. The only thing I did right was this: When the crap hit the fan, I immediately put the situation into God’s hands.

Seven years ago, when Bear was about to have surgery, I was a nervous wreck. I went to the Blessed Sacrament chapel and prayed the Rosary. When I was finished, I was filled with calm and peace. I knew it would be okay. I didn’t know that Bear was going to be fine and we’d live happily ever after. But, I knew that, no matter what, God was going to take care of him, in His own way, and that He would take care of me and the rest of the family, as well.

In the years since, there have been many, many times when I have been in stressful situations but remained unconcerned. I put it in God’s hands, knowing… God would provide, and God would be glorified.

My husband laying lifeless on my family room floor, while I did chest compressions, surrounded by our five children, definitely raised “stressful situation” to a whole new level. Thank God, my response had become automatic. The words that ran through my head were:

God will provide. God will be glorified.

I can’t explain it, because it really is a peace that surpasses all understanding, and I can’t explain what I myself can’t understand.

But I can tell you this. I’ve known it. And I’ve been incredibly blessed in it. And I pray that everyone reading this post will know it as well.

I don’t think that response would have come so easily without practice. In fact, I know it wouldn’t have. It came with years and years of taking small problems and handing them over to God, and then watching in wonder and awe as He took care of them.

And so I sit, free from anxiety, filled with a peace that surpasses all understanding. Thanks be to God, my husband has had a miraculous recovery already. However, the fact remains that we don’t know what tomorrow holds. Perhaps he will remember that he has five children, and recall their names correctly. Perhaps he won’t. Perhaps he will return to a meaningful life as a husband, father, and provider. Perhaps he won’t.

Regardless, God will provide. For Ray, for me, and for the children. God will be glorified. And God will grant us peace.

Exciting News About A Single Bead!

The day I have waited for is almost here.

On Wednesday, I finally get to share with you…

the cover design for my book, A Single Bead!

And, I get to give away three copies of the book!

A Single Bead

I will be revealing the cover on my Facebook author page first, so if you haven’t already, please go “like” my page, here.

I will also post on the blog, to share with my awesome readers the story of how A Single Bead came into existence.

You’ll have opportunities to enter the book giveaway by sharing the Facebook post, commenting on the blog post, and more.

“See” you Wednesday!

Why I’m a Terrible Person and Can’t Boycott the Coffee Shop

I’ve tried. I really have.

I tried when I heard that the president of the company said that they supported gay marriage because it was “just part of who we are.”

And I tried again when I learned that they have supported Planned Parenthood in the past.

But I’ve failed.

I’ll admit that part of it is the yumminess of the drinks. But there are other coffee shops that make good fru-fru coffees.

You might be surprised to hear that part of it is actually due to their plastic cups. It’s true. I often buy a coffee just so I can get a venti water and proceed to reuse the cup for the next five days, or at least until the straw breaks (those darn, cheap straws!).

That’s a five dollar water cup. Yowzas.

But, I drink about five times more water if I can drink it from their water cup.

Apart from the yummy fru-fru coffees and the water cups that feel oh-so-good in my hands and encourage my hydration efforts, it’s simply the ability to get away and write. That’s what really gets me.

As a writer, it is very difficult for me to “practice my craft” at home. I no longer have a true “office,” with the blessing of a door. My new “office” consists of a small space in a corner of the family room, which happens also to be at the end of the kitchen counter. It’s rather difficult for the kids to understand that “Mommy’s at work and can’t be disturbed” when they nearly run into me every time they go to the fridge for a drink.

Even Ray, God love him, can’t stop himself from sharing whatever marvelous joke or tidbit of information he’s gleaned from Facebook or Reddit.

I’ve tried other places, but they’re too noisy, or they don’t have enough electrical outlets, or the chairs aren’t comfortable, or the shear number of tattoos and earlobes with giant, gaping holes in them leaves me feeling distinctly out of place.

I do my best, no longer taking the kids through the drive through for their Mass treats, to the tune of over 20 bucks. And I don’t buy anything extra – no pastries, sandwiches, or even almonds to tide me over.

I really wish some person with good, Christian values would open up a coffee shop coffee shopclose to my house. One with a drop-in childcare center attached would be quite ideal. Any takers?

Until then, here I sit, with my family at home on this Monday morning of fall break, reveling in the fact that I’ve finally had a moment to write something, all while feeling guilty because they just got another five dollars of my family’s hard-earned money.

The Wedding at Cana

The wedding at Cana

The Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-12) is one of my favorite mysteries of the Rosary. It seems to have endless depths to explore, and I am frequently startled by the realization of some new, previously hidden element.

I love to think about Mary’s concern for the bride and groom, and of her intercession on their behalf. As she interceded for them, I know that she will intercede for us.

I meditate on Jesus’ use of the word, “woman,” drawing our minds to the first woman, Eve, who brought sin into the world. Mary is called “the New Eve,” because she is the woman – the one in all of history – who never knew sin, who stepped on the head of the serpent as was foretold in Genesis, who, rather than trying to be like God, as the first Eve did, humbled herself before God, making herself his handmaid and saying “Let it be done unto me…”

Then there’s Mary’s confidence that Jesus will respond to her request, and her words, “Do whatever he tells you.” Simple, yet perfect. If only we each could follow this command.

There’s the fact that, with Mary’s gentle push, Christ chose a wedding as the place where his first public miracle should occur, thereby revealing the awesome importance of the sacrament of marriage.

Of course, there’s the miracle of turning water into wine. And not just any wine, but the very best, most splendid of wines.

Untitled design

I love to think on his order to fill the jars with water. If we are Christ’s servants, what is this “water” that we should be filling our jars with? On the one hand, surely it’s love of God, and love of neighbor. On the other hand, it’s the spiritual drink of life – the Holy Spirit. Those who drink of it will never thirst. And there’s the refilling of ourselves, as we pour ourselves out caring for others, and then must fill ourselves back up through prayer, scripture, and the sacraments.

Though seemingly insignificant, I love the words that follow Christ’s command. “They filled them to the brim.” If those jars are my offering to Christ, am I filling it to the brim? Am I giving him my everything, my all?

Ultimately, like the water that was transformed at Cana, whatever we offer to him – however ordinary – will become extraordinary.

May we hold nothing back.

 

 

 

 

Seven Quick Takes – Big Family Craziness, Running Late, Confessing, and a Book Design Sneak Peek

seven-quick-takes-friday-2Well, I’m a day late with this, but, as you’ll read below, I’m a repeat offender as far as tardiness goes. Regardless, thanks for dropping by, and please read on for a little update on the Engelman family.

— 1 —

I am learning just how crazy life can be with five children. Last Saturday, for example, we had to drop off Ray and Bear for soccer pictures at 8:15, get Dude to football at 8:30, take Bonita to basketball IMG_9816.JPGevaluations at 9, have Boo at soccer pictures by 9:30, pickup Bonita from evals at 10:15, and pickup Dude at 10:30. Of course,  Little Man had to be fed in the midst of the mayhem, which I wound up doing while sitting on the ground beneath a tree amid a chaotic mass of people while waiting for soccer pictures. CRAZINESS!

But, who can complain about the hectic lifestyle of big families when they’re still this cute, even at eleven?

 

— 2 —

If you know me, you know how truly remarkable it is that we were on time to all of those engagements. I struggle with punctuality, to say the least.

Last Sunday, I went to Reconciliation. One of the items that I confessed was a somewhat habitual tardiness to Mass. In fact, we’re generally late any Sunday that the Dude isn’t serving or I’m not lectoring. Unfortunately, I was forced to run to confession by myself, leaving the rest of the family at home because they weren’t ready yet. So, after confession, I raced home to grab the family before returning to the church for Mass. Late.

— 3 —

On the topic of Reconciliation… on Sunday, after addressing a few items and offering some advice, Monsignor asked me, “OK, is that all you have to confess?” To which I dumbly responded, “Yep, that’s it!”

Duhar!

Actually, my response should have been, “Well, no, Monsignor. Those are just the big things. If you really want to hear all that I have to confess, we’ll both be late to Mass!”

Really, though – and with all due respect to Monsignor –  isn’t that an unfair question? Can many of us ever confess all we have to confess? As soon as I uproot one sin, I discover another. I’ll never be done with that process, and I doubt I’ll ever fully recognize all that I have to confess, let alone remember to tell them to the priest in the confessional!

— 4 —

empty tableWhen I came home from taking the kids to school this morning, the dog had much to confess. Upon seeing the look on his face and his tail between his legs, I knew instantly.

Needless to say, the children did not finish their pancakes, but Keyser was happy to make it appear as though they had.

— 5 —

A quick publishing update: I received the “Author Final Review” version of my IMG_9830.JPGbook, A Single Bead, on Thursday. This is the paginated, proofread “proof,” which basically shows exactly how the text will appear on each page. Here’s a little sneak peek of the first page. I love the font they chose for the chapter headings, and the way they positioned it at the top right of the page, rather than centered above the text.

Now, I am anxiously awaiting the cover design, and praying for Sister Mary Joseph, the cover designer, and the rest of the team who will be selecting it. It’s a little nerve-racking, to have something so crucial in the hands of others, but Pauline Books & Media has done a great job so far – from the editing suggestions to that lovely chapter heading font – so I have faith that the cover will be equally as well done!

— 6 —

As we get closer to publication, I am turning my attention toward efforts to promote the book. A big part of that will be public speaking engagements, most likely to church groups.

Apparently, this makes me very weird, but I absolutely adore speaking in public. That said, I’ve been stressing out over possible topics. Then – silly me – I realized that I needed to pray about it. So I did. And now topics, quotes, and quips seem to be coming out of the woodwork.

I’ll be creating a separate “speaking” page on my website soon. In the meantime, if you know of any group that is looking for someone to speak about the Rosary, Biblical words of life for women or teens, mothering with Mary, or any such topic, please keep me in mind! I need to get some official engagements under my belt, for groups ranging from two to two bazillion, and I’m “free” for a limited time! 🙂

— 7 —

A friend recently recommended Francine Rivers’s Redeeming Love. It’s the story of a young girl sold into prostitution, who is rescued from that life by a God-fearing man. She then struggles with her own self-worth and ability to love and accept forgiveness. I highly recommend it, along with Rivers’ Mark of the Lion Series which gives beautiful insight into the life of early Christians, with self-sacrificing romance woven in.

(The links above are affiliate links. If you click on them, you’ll be linked to Amazon. Then, if you add any item to your cart and purchase it, I’ll receive a tiny commission. This little “job” doesn’t pay, so I really appreciate it!)

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!

Closer to Christ – A Birthing Story

For most families, it was a Sunday night like any other. They ate their dinners, laid out clothes for the day to come, and tucked the children into bed.

For the Engelman family, it was the night when the much-awaited fifth baby would finally come.

My mother-in-law came to stay with the kids and we said tearful goodbyes. The children aren’t used to having me gone more than a few hours, so the thought of my absence for several days was a bit daunting for them.

As for me, well, I’d had strange premonitions that something might go wrong during labor. While I managed to walk out the door all smiles and reassurance, I spent most of the ride to the hospital in tears.

Arriving at the hospital, we were quickly shown to my room. Over the course of the next twenty or so hours, they tried every means possible –other than Pitocin, which I wanted to avoid—to get that baby to come.

It’s all a bit of a blur, but at some point Monday afternoon, labor finally kicked in. I labored naturally for a long time, and, by late Monday night, was even to the point of pushing. Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, the doctor recommended an epidural, in hopes that it would help me relax and allow the baby to turn around, who seemed to be “sunny side up” and wasn’t applying enough pressure for full dilation.

I may be a natural girl, but an epidural has its time and place and, for me, that was it. Pushing when you’re not fully dilated involves unmentionable interventions that are extremely painful, to say the least.

The epidural took effect, allowing us to rest for a bit. Unfortunately, even with the Pitocin that they had also administered, I still wasn’t completely dilated. But, baby was also now twelve days overdue, and we knew him or her to be swimming in meconium (aka: poop). So, it was back to pushing, under the same circumstance as before, only this time there was no pain—thank you, God.

Everything was moving along, and seemed to be going somewhat normally, when the doctor told me to push, and I did. Suddenly, the room – and the doctor and nurse – were covered in red.

My doctor had been wearing a really beautiful cream jacket. I imagine that got thrown in the biohazard bin.

Doc and nurse stayed remarkably cool, but Ray and I were well aware that this was not normal. They left to get cleaned up, while Ray and I waited and worried, wondering what on earth was going on. After what seemed to be an eternity, they returned and the doctor explained what she believed had happened. She gave us two choices – try pushing a little bit more to see what happened, or go in for a C-section. Trouble was, there could be internal bleeding, and the pushing would exacerbate that situation.

I know the doctor wanted to be respectful of my desire for as natural a birth as possible, but when it comes down to life and death, I’ll choose life – and having my abdomen cut open – every time.

Ray and I were both scared. We’d seen the amount of blood loss, which I was told later was probably about two liters. We knew that internal bleeding to that degree could be dangerous. I gave instructions for him to text two prayerful women – my friend Karin, whom I knew would be in adoration at that time, and my sister Suzanne – and ask for their prayers.

Oddly, my sister told me later that she had been unable to sleep and woke up early that morning, deciding to spend some time in prayer. Normally, her phone would still have been turned off and she wouldn’t have seen that text until after the baby had been born.

I had spent much of the last thirty six hours in prayer myself, offering up my pains for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, purity and peace in the world, and the health of a little girl suffering from a heart defect. I had prayed the Rosary, meditating on Christ’s Passion and death, uniting my suffering with His. I had been to the sacrament of Reconciliation ten days before, and managed to keep my soul relatively clean in the interim. If I was going to go, I figured this was as good a time as any. Nonetheless, I worried for my children, who would be left motherless, and for Ray, who would be left to care for five children by himself, when, let’s face it, he had made it abundantly clear that we were done at four.

As they wheeled me into the OR, I prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and found immense comfort in it.

They moved me to the operating table, strapping my arms out as though they were spread on a cross. Ray sat at my head on my right, while the anesthesiologist sat at my left. Before I knew it, I felt some tugs and pulls, and then heard the staff talking amongstEvan newborn themselves, “Oh, he has so much hair!”

I looked at Ray, feeling more than a little disappointed that this was how we found out.

“It’s a boy?” I asked.

From my other side, the anesthesiologist said, “Oh, you didn’t know? Well, go ahead, Dad, take a look!”

Bad idea. I should have stopped him, but, well, my arms were strapped down. Ray stood up and looked over the sheet. And saw me and my internals in all their glory.

I think that might have eclipsed his first vision of his new baby boy.

At this point, I began to shiver uncontrollably. The anesthesiologist thought I was just wigging out, but I have a theory (having talked to other women who experienced the same thing) that it was the result of the Pitocin, which no longer had any uterine muscles to act upon and was therefore acting upon all of my other muscles. The anesthesiologist tried to reassure me and get me calmed down, but I could not stop the violent shaking. Unbeknownst to me, he administered a sedative. I began to feel sleepy, and, not knowing what was happening, kept thinking to myself,

Don’t go into the light. Don’t go into the light.

Fortunately, there was no need to worry.

It was a harrowing experience, so much so that my doctor asked me at my follow-up visit whether I was experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Recovery was difficult, involving two blood transfusions and way more pain and discomfort than I had planned on.

IMG_8565But at the end of it all, I don’t regret a single decision, or one solitary moment. Not only do I have a beautiful child of God to show for it, full of dimply-sweet-lovin’. In going through a long labor, the pain of pushing naturally, and the frightening experience of unexplained blood loss and an emergency C-section, I actually grew closer to Christ. Through God’s grace, I was able to do just what Christ tells us to do in the Gospels. Having entered into the experience prayerfully, and remaining prayerful throughout, I was able to pick up my cross, and carry it. I had moments of weakness, fear, and doubt, but ultimately, I give thanks.

What might have been a terribly “traumatic” experience was actually an opportunity to offer up my pain and fear, to unite my suffering with Christ’s, and to grow in my faith and love of the Lord.

How I Can Support Traditional Marriage and Not be a Hater

Anyone who follows this blog in any way, shape, or form would probably correctly assume that I am opposed to gay marriage.

More precisely, I believe in traditional marriage between a man and a woman. Why? Because marriage is an institution created by God to serve a very specific role within his creation – to procreate, and then to provide a stable, loving environment for those little beings who were procreated.

As our pastor pointed out recently, it’s pretty obvious how’s it’s supposed to work. Just look at the anatomy. A man and a woman fit together in a way that no two women or two men can. Man and woman were made for one another.noahs-ark1

When God told Noah to load the ark two by two, would the whole plan have worked if he loaded two male elephants and two female horses? I think not.

Okay. We’ve established where I stand on the subject. And now many of you have made a few judgements about me.

I’m a hater. A bigot. A close-minded, ignorant, bullying jerk.

I can handle that.

And I’ll still love you.

Go ahead. Unfriend me on Facebook. Erase my contact info from your phone if you feel you must.

After you read the rest of what I’ve got to say.

Because here’s the news flash: it is possible to disagree with someone’s actions and still love them.

Case in point:

Most of you know that I wasn’t always the Bible-loving Catholic woman that I strive to be today. In fact, in my earlier years, I “lived in sin” with my boyfriend. Of course, at the time, I joked about that whole living in sin thing. Sin wasn’t something I really took seriously. Cohabitation seemed practical and convenient, not to mention that it was what everyone else was doing, and I was in love and we planned to get married.

But I digress. What I’d actually like to examine here is my parent’s response to my lifestyle choice.

Guess what?

My parents did not approve.

I knew this without them saying a word. But, because she loved me, my mom had a very, very difficult conversation with me. One in which she had to use that three letter “s” word no mom born before the sixties wants to have to use with her daughter.

I’ll give you a hint. It ends with an “x” and has an “e” in the middle.

This had to be an incredibly difficult topic for my mom to broach. But she did it anyways. Why? Because she loved me. And, in her love for me, she did not want to stand back and let me enter into a sinful situation without doing everything she could to prevent me from making a mistake. A mistake that she knew would drive me further from God.

Did you catch that one sentence?

Because she loved me…

Imagine that.

In today’s world, people seem to think that, if we love someone, and they do something we believe to be sinful, we should keep our mouths shut.

No. Scratch that. Keeping our mouths shut is not enough.

We must actually change our value system and accept that the actions of the other are perfectly fine.

Otherwise, we’re haters, bigots, and close-minded jerks.

Thank God I got married to that live-in boyfriend. Otherwise, I’d have to feel offended by my parents, who would not have changed their views and thus, by today’s standards, must surely hate me.  I’d have to call them haters and  bigots and close-minded throwbacks.

But wait. They never did hate me. They stuck to their value structure and shared it with me.

Out of love.

Imagine that.

Let the trash talk begin. Feel free to comment below.

(Be warned that all comments are moderated. While I will attempt to respond to all respectful comments, I reserve the right to edit any inappropriate content. I also reserve the right to take a really long time to respond because it’s hard to focus with five kids running around the house. But I’ll do my best.)