Thursday, October 16, 2014

A New Friend in Heaven - Blessed Chiara Badano

I am so excited to share one of my new favorite saints, Blessed Chiara Luce Badano.

After recently learning of Bl. Chiara, Mike and I have begun asking for her intercession. Mike is the one who first found out about her and ordered a documentary on her life.

Bl. Chiara's parents prayed for children for eleven years, until she was born in 1971. She grew up in a small Italian town, where her parents taught her the faith.

As a typical girl Bl. Chiara had many friends, enjoyed listening to music, and liked playing tennis. As When she was a child Bl. Chiara's mother encouraged her to go through her toys and select some to give to those less fortunate. Bl. Chiara choose her newest and nicest toys to give away. She also collected money for children in Africa.

In her late teens, Bl. Chiara developed osteosarcoma, a painful tumor. At first Bl. Chiara was saddened by her illness, but after a short time she said "Yes" to Jesus and accepted her sufferings. She refused pain medication so that she could offer her sufferings to Jesus.

Bl. Chiara died in 1990. More on her life here and here.

Here are a few quotes from Bl. Chiara:
  • “I have rediscovered the Gospel under a new light: as it is easy for me to learn the alphabet, so it must be to live the Gospel.
  • “If you want it, Jesus, so do I."
  • “I can only offer my pain to Jesus. It’s all I have left.”
  • “For you, Jesus . . . if you want it, I want it too!"

Because Bl. Chiara's parents struggled with infertility for so long, it's comforting to ask for her prayers.  Also her simple faith and "Yes" to accepting her cross is amazing. I want to love Jesus like she did.

Bl. Chiara's feastday is October 29. I am planning to start this novena on October 21st, asking Bl. Chiara to pray for us to grow closer to God and be blessed with children. Please let me know your intentions too!

Thanks for stopping by. God bless your weekend!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Home Study? Yeah Buddy!

Hi everyone, this is Mike, Mary Beth’s husband.  While Mary Beth does most of the writing here, we thought it’s about time I take another spin the on the merry-go-round of blogging.

So, what’s new?  Well, we’re one step closer to finishing our home study for adoption.  In fact, the end is very much in sight.  This past Tuesday our social worker came to our apartment for our last of four meetings.  Just for review, we’ve done one meeting as a couple, and one each individual meeting.  This final meeting was to see our place.

As a side note, we spent a few hours on Sunday and Monday cleaning the place, so this is the nicest it’s looked in a long time.  Now, our apartment is never really messy.  We’re pretty tidy people.  But lately Mary Beth has been getting some new decorations, and we did what I would deem a “deep clean.”  What, you ask, constitutes a deep clean?  Well, I know it was a deep clean because a) I found myself wearing rubber gloves on my hands and knees in the bathroom, and b) I used more than one vacuum attachment in a single day.  It was the kind of clean you can smell when you walk in.

Our newly decorated living room!
We got mums this year!
The meeting went well.  Our social worker wanted to begin with a “walk around” our place to get the “lay of the land.”  Since we live in a modest two bedroom apartment, that took about 45 seconds.  Yes, all our cleaning supplies and prescription medications are stored up high.  We have a working fire alarm.  There are no screamingly apparent hazards looming menacingly within our apartment.

As a bonus, we found out we have more paperwork to fill out.  This isn’t a shock, since one of the main activities in the adoption process is filling out paperwork.  My suggestion to these adoption agencies: do like iTunes or Facebook, and just give me a little box to check that I agree to all the terms and conditions, and let me click “continue.”

Bottom line: we should have our home study completed and approved within 30 days.  This is pretty exciting since we first began this trek over a year ago. 

So, what’s next?  Well, we’ve hit some snags in choosing what agency to do the actual adoption with (more on that another time).  But we’ll soon be signing with an agency that will work with us to pair us with a birth-mother.  So, it’s kind of like we’re at the doctor’s office moving from the big waiting room where you do your paperwork, to the smaller waiting room.  But in this case, there’s more paperwork in the second waiting room.

What can you do to help?  Help us network!  We’re waiting to be connected to a birth-mother that is opening to making an adoption plan for her baby.  But if we can connect with a birth-mom on our own, that moves things ahead.  So, if you know of someone who may be considering adoption as an option, please pass on our contact info.  Please also SHARE our blog site and our Facebook page with friends and family.  We’ve heard so many stories of couples connecting with a birth-mom through a “friend of a friend.”  Please keep your ears open, share our info, help us connect, and please, keep us in your prayers.

Friday, October 3, 2014

7 Quick Takes - Prayer Struggles, Packers, and Fall Colors

Bond falls, Upper Peninsula, Michigan
Lots on mind lately, here's a little peak. Also, more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.

1. Coming Clean about My Prayer Life - I'm struggling with my prayer life over here. I try to get have a prayer time before work each day, but I cut my time short by sleeping too late or checking email on my phone. Ugh. When I do sit down to pray my mind wanders. I read some scripture and a psalm but have no idea what I've even read. It's like in one ear, and out the other. I use Magnificat and In Conversation with God reflections, but feel like I never get deeper than reading the Gospel, a meditation, and offering up a few intentions to God. I want to go deeper with God. At other times in life I have had a more fruitful prayer life, but right now I feel stuck. I recently decided to get to daily mass a few more times a week, so hopefully that will help.

2. A Rule of Thumb for Prayer - A priest shared a simple suggestion for making time for God. He suggested starting with 15 minutes of prayer each day. After two weeks increase that by 5 minutes for two more weeks. Then, slowly add a few minutes each week until I get to one minute of prayer, for how many years old I am. For me that is 32. While 32 minutes is not much time when it comes to spending time in prayer, for me this seems like a long time. I know it is something I can do, but I'm going to need lots of grace.

3. Prayer for Vocations - We visited a parish out of town. In the pews was a beautiful holy card with a prayer for vocations. The prayer is below. I love how it asks God for an increase in religious vocations and also mentions married and single vocations. I was reminded that marriage is an important vocation, with or without children.

A Prayer for Vocations
Heavenly Father, bless Your Church
with an abundance of holy and zealous 
priests, deacons, brothers and sisters.
Give those You have called to the married state
 and those You have chosen to live as single persons in the world
 the special graces that their lives require.
Form us all in the likeness of Your Son
 so that in Him, with Him and through Him
 we may love You more deeply
 and serve You more faithfully, always and everywhere. 
With Mary we ask this through Christ our Lord.

4. Packer Game - I am a MAJOR Packer fan.  When I was twelve I wrote in to have my name added to the season ticket waiting list. My name should come up in my mid-fifties, which is awesome (At this point, those whose names are added now will pass away before becoming season ticket holders). A few weeks ago, Mike and I got a last minute chance to buy Packers tickets from a friend. We went to our first game together at Lambeau Field. It was a great day and a great game!

5. Fall is Here! - It's my favorite season! We spent a few days in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan celebrating our sixth anniversary. The fall colors were amazing. My husband is even more amazing. So grateful for six years with such a good man.

6. Milestones - As we celebrate our sixth anniversary, we are also marking five years trying to conceive. This is a weird milestone. It feels surreal. Five years ago I never ever thought, in a million years, that we would reach this point and still be childless. Thankfully we are making some progress on adoption, but there is still an ache deep within (sometimes it feels physical) to bear children.

7. Wisdom from the Ages - Mike and I visit our hospital once a month and bring communion to Catholic patients. Last month as we were visiting with a dear lady and I complimented her on how young she looked (She was in her early 70s). She responded that her secret was to stay positive. She said that life was too short to get depressed about things that go wrong. Staying positive kept her young. What a dear lady! So thankful for her words of wisdom!

Bonus: Our home-study home visit is this upcoming week. It's our last social worker meeting! Also, we encountered another potential adoption delay, and are deciding how to proceed in response to it. We need prayers for direction. Hope to have an update and more news soon.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a blessed weekend!