All in God’s Time

All in God’s time     

Twelve years ago, I had a miscarriage. It wasn’t my first and, as you will soon see, it wouldn’t be my last.

I felt bad that I hadn’t bonded with the baby, not the way I did with my other kids. I didn’t think about what would be going on the month they were born; how our family would be forever changed. I already had a name, of course. This would be my Clare. Years before, when I popped out one boy after another, I would tell people, “Jenna and Clare are members of the family; they just aren’t here yet.” Well, little Jenna Cat was fourteen months old and so, of course, this would be my Clare.

Except it wasn’t.

Not knowing the gender, I named the baby Francis and told his patron, “I’m naming the baby after you so you will intercede for me to have my Clare.”

It was a brutal miscarriage. I’ll spare you the details except to say the paramedics had to rush me to the hospital and I had a D&C in the middle of the night because I had lost so much blood. I was moments away from a transfusion.

That night as I laid in the hospital, my arms and legs strapped to apparatuses that kept me from developing a blood clot, I thought of my sweet Jenna, who up to that point I was still nursing and how blessed I was to have big sister, Megan, to take care of my baby.

I spent a week in bed. Another month recovering. And although me and St. Francis had a deal, I was so sick I honestly didn’t want any more children. I couldn’t go through that again. Perhaps, I was too old, already having celebrated my fortieth birthday.

But then, I got better.

And, I thought to myself, I don’t want that to be my last pregnancy. I don’t want to end on such a sour note. I decided we would have just one more.

Keep in mind, I didn’t discuss the situation with the father of my children. Following the teachings of the church, we didn’t use birth control. In addition, we didn’t have a grave and serious reason to avoid a pregnancy so Natural Family Planning wasn’t something we practiced either. Just let God be in control.

Time slipped by. Month, after month, after month, and I wasn’t pregnant again. People would often ask, “Are you going to have any more children?” and I would just smile and give the standard answer Ken and I had developed over the years, “We’re open to whatever God wants.” Except I wasn’t…What if God didn’t want me to have another baby? What if Jenna was my last? What if losing Francis really was the note God wanted me to end on? I couldn’t accept that.

I started praying.

I had three perpetual novenas going at the same time. First, I prayed to St. Gerard, the patron of expectant mothers. Next, St. Therese of Lisieux, for she was the ninth child in her family and Clare would be number nine in mine. Lastly, St. Clare of Assisi, of course.

I wouldn’t have admitted it at the time, but the more I prayed, the more time that went by and I wasn’t pregnant, the angrier I became. I am embarrassed to say, I was angry with God. How could He not want me to have any more children?

Eventually, Ken and I did talk about it and he understood where I was coming from. Other than him I had no one to talk to. How could I complain about my newfound infertility when I had eight beautiful children? I even had my little princess, Jenna, after all those boys.  

Time continued. Jenna turned two. Then she turned two and a half. Then she potty trained herself. After sixteen years of nonstop diapers, I was done. I even asked her, “Jenna, what am I going to do without a baby in the house?” Without skipping a beat, she responded, “Buy me a doggie?” Nice try, kid.

But then I had a moment. A Holy Spirit moment that I shared with my better half. “I think we’re done. This chapter of our lives is over and I’m okay with that.” I finally had the peace I desired.

And then I got pregnant.

Coming up to the room as I was getting ready for Mass Sunday morning, Ken knelt beside me. He was trying to convince me to let us tell the children our happy news before the boys left for St. Michael’s Summer Camp that afternoon. I was just so afraid. He looked at me and said, “We’re having a baby.” I immediately burst out crying, “I HOPE we do!!!” concerned about having another miscarriage. “No,” he corrected, “We have a baby, right now.” I stopped in my tracks and realized he was right. God gave us a baby. I have a baby living inside me right now. All of a sudden, I wiped my tears and realized, I don’t know if this child is going to live for one more day, or one hundred years, but I am this child’s mother and I will do everything in my power to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

A few weeks later I was in the doctor’s office for a routine ultrasound. Six-year-old Luke got to tag along after his dentist appointment. My best friend, Haylee, met me there, bringing along a coloring book and crayons for Luke. Why hadn’t I thought of that? Haylee had never been to an ultrasound with me before. I’m not sure why I invited her to this one. Except God knew that I would need her. Ken was at work. As I mentioned, it was just routine.

The technician and I chatted as she squirted goo onto my belly and fired up the machine. She asked me how many children I had and when I responded, “Eight,” she asked if any of them were twins. “Oh, no, just one at a time,” I exclaimed in a sing-song voice as I smiled. Then, she looked at me dead pan in the eye, “Cause this is twins.”

“What?!?” I reached out for Haylee’s hand, and she gave me a big squeeze. Twins? Seriously?!? How good is God? How utterly wonderful is our Creator? I was ecstatic.

I almost couldn’t keep a straight face as I called Ken and he asked how the baby was. “Oh, they’re fine…” I teased.

The kids were over the moon, especially Megan. We immediately had to come up with Baby B’s name, since, if we had a girl, her name would be Clare. Always loving when twins have special names that link them together, we came up with Callie, named for St. Callistus.

I was deliriously happy and reminisced about the time I babysat for twins and how God was preparing me for this moment!

The doctor had told me I would need an ultrasound each month as it was the only accurate way to check on the babies. In addition, I was of advanced maternal age, so I needed to see a specialist. The new doctor would perform the ultrasounds himself.

Ken was with me this time. The doctor found Baby A right away. Big smiles! But then time stood still as he searched for her womb mate. He looked and looked. I already knew before he found my second child. Baby B had stopped developing, probably around the time I found out of his or her existence. I was still pregnant with twins. I was still the mother of twins. But I would only get to raise one.

Clare Elizabeth Diane was born around 2:30 in the morning on March 22, 2012. She likes to hear the story of how she “swam out of me.” The doctor said the only thing holding her in was the sack of water and after this next contraction he would go ahead and break my water and she would be born. Only Clare had other ideas. The next contraction she broke through and my world has never been the same.

Ten years now and Clare knows she has a special sibling in Heaven. Clare knows she is a miracle. How I could have lost her along with her twin. How I prayed for her-I begged God for her. How I had to wait for her. And how God has a very special plan for her life.

Will you marry me?

All my life I wanted to get married. I wanted to grow up, get married and have babies. The smooth talking, party boy college graduate in my parish’s Youth Group was not even on the radar. I knew I was definitely not his type.

Over the four years I knew Ken, I never once thought about dating him. Especially after he hired me to clean his house (the same house we currently live in). Perhaps the beer bottles and shot glasses that were strewn all over the living room should have been an indicator to me of life to come-only to be replaced by barbies, candy wrappers, and Legos. Lots and lots of Legos.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

When Ken broke up with his latest girlfriend and began flirting with me one warm September evening in the Large Hall at St. Nicholas, I didn’t know what to make of it. Why had we never gone out? I thought about the question he had asked me. Um, does he like me (all of a sudden)? Do I like him? Truth be told, I didn’t date much and I was just excited to be going to a nice dinner. I had no idea he was going to sweep me off my feet!

He brought me home from that first date and I closed and locked the door and looked in the mirror. “I could live like this for the rest of my life…” Yup-he was “the one”!

Within a month I knew he was going to propose as soon as he let me know, Steve, our future Best Man, was planning the bachelor party.

However, he had us on the two year plan. (Anyone else married to an accountant?) We were going to date for a year, get engaged, and then get married a year after that.

That plan got cut off by a few months. He just couldn’t resist surprising me on my 22nd birthday. I had strict orders to be home from breakfast with my best friend (I miss you, Haylee!!) by 10:00am. Soon after, the doorbell began to ring. First it was Ed delivering 22 roses-eleven red and eleven pink. Next, Steve showed up to hand me two black velvet dresses from Victoria’s Secret with directions to “pick one.” Ken was there shortly after with a fresh haircut, tuxedo and limousine. Let’s not forget the mixed tape of classic rock love songs he had spent the morning compiling.

Within a short time, our chauffeur had us safely dropped off at a park overlooking the ocean. We were then met by the guys who had successfully executed, “Operation Pop the Question,” with a table set up with champagne and glasses. I should have known something was up as soon as they gave us some privacy, video taping from a few yards away. However, Ken had me convinced this was all for my birthday. He was trying to make up for the low-key 21st birthday I spent with Haylee and Kelly watching, “The Little Mermaid.” (Still one of my favorite movies!)

So, when he bent down on one knee, I was totally BLOWN AWAY! This was it. This was the moment I had waited for all my life. This was the story I would tell my children and grandchildren. I was going to be a wife and subsequently, a mother. This is the story of the beginning of our family.

If you are old school, and still own a VCR, you could watch the tape but, honestly, all you’ll hear from it is me bawling.

So, here we are, thirty years and eleven kids later. Thirty wonderful years filled with:

Laughter, a wedding, babies, diapers, potty training, Mass, Rosary, First Saturday devotions, a remodel, Homeschooling, more babies, more diapers, USC football, flag football, soccer, car seats, 12 passenger van, driver training, eating out, game nights, dates with Dad, another remodel, another wedding,

And a lot, lot more laughter…

Living the Life of Lent

I’ve been thinking about what to give up for Lent. A few years ago, my oldest daughter, Megan, and I (and 7 month old, Beb) went on a Mother/Daughter trip. It was the first weekend of Lent and the priest told us at the homily, “Don’t give up Oreos for Lent…Just eat one.” Whoa, dude! Back up now. Talk about sacrifice!!

Every year I would ask my mom, “What are you giving up for Lent?” And every year she would answer, “I’m not going to eat in between meals.” “Yeah, but what are you going to GIVE UP?!” I would retort back.

Then, I tried it. Not eating in between meals. It’s not easy. I’m hungry all the time. Well, not hungry. Bored. I know it’s hard to be bored when you have as many kids as I have. But, yes, I get bored, or stressed, or whatever. Like those chocolate chip cookies look really good and they won’t be as fresh tomorrow so I’ll just have one, or five.

This year I’ve been practicing not eating while I watch TV and then I spend the entire of episode of NCIS thinking about the blueberries and whipped cream in the fridge. Because, you know, fruit. And, really, the whipped cream doesn’t have that many calories per serving. Never mind the fact I’m eating as many servings as people living in my house.

Yesterday, while I proudly displayed my ashes for all to see (which was the exact opposite of the message in the Gospel) I was reflecting on things I should really give up for Lent.

How much different would my life look in six weeks if I gave up things like:





*Jumping to conclusions (which is pretty much the only exercise I’ve been getting lately)

What if this Lent I focused on things like being kind of others, being the Light of Christ to all I encounter, or giving others the benefit of the doubt?

What if there was less of me and more of Jesus? What if I focused more on the Gospel and less on Gossip?

It’s not going to be perfect. It’s not always going to be pretty. But it will be something. FlyLady says, “Cleaning your house imperfectly still blesses your family.” It’s like that for Lent, too. Making small sacrifices, however small, still blesses my soul. And that’s all God asks for us.

Calm the Storm

Normally, January is my favorite month of the year. Craig would argue it’s because my favorite child was born during this month. Then, Luke would pipe in to say, “Yeah, on the 26th!”

I like January. I like the newness of it all. Christmas and all the stress and chaos of creating the perfect holiday experience for my kids is over and done and I get a break from it for the next eleven months. I can stare at a blank canvas and imagine with wonder what masterpiece I’m going to create during this spin around the sun.

Then, I started the 21st year of the 21st century off by getting sick. I may or may not have had Covid. I didn’t actually get tested. That would have required getting dressed and leaving the house. However, I can tell you that I was achy and seriously fatigued and spent two full weeks napping, binge watching TV, and lounging around in my pajamas. It was wonderful!!

After two weeks, I made a full recovery and then I turned up the heat. I reflected at how much TV I did watch and I was kind of disgusted with myself. Girl, I thought, it is time to get your cute little tush in gear and get stuff done!

I started out by making my bed and tackling my room. It still appeared as if Christmas had thrown up in this sanctuary I call the Master Bedroom.

Then, I got dressed down to my shoes and did my hair and makeup. I was ready to conquer to the world, or at least, the kitchen.

I had the perfect plan in place. My day planner was organized and I was excited about all that I would accomplish.

And then God said, “Whoa…”

This week, in particular, has been quite rough. On Tuesday, as I was celebrating Luke’s 16th birthday and remembering the anniversary of my father’s passing, I learned of friend whose daughter was killed in a tragic accident. Then, I reached out to another friend to see how her husband’s cancer treatment was going only to learn they had just transitioned to hospice. On top of that, Megan’s job hours and pay were cut in half. And as I sat remembering how my best friend of 31 years died just six months ago, Ken called me to say his was on his way home and his own employment was just terminated.    

Needless to say, my whole world went sideways…

Then, I woke up this morning and opened my “Word Among Us” app to read the Gospel for the day, Mark 4:35-41. The disciples and Jesus were crossing the sea on a boat and a “violent squall” came up and Jesus was in the corner, sleeping on a cushion! With what must have been lots of shouts and screaming, they wake Jesus up and he commands the wind-he, in fact, REBUKES the wind, and says to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” Then, it was as if he was speaking to me as I read the words, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”  

I don’t know. Do I have faith? Do I trust in the Lord? There is a storm raging inside me. A storm of fear, uncertainty, anxiety. And then there is our Lord telling me to be quiet and be still. I know far more than the disciples. I know how the story ends. I know who wins. I know who is in charge. God’s plan is perfect. I don’t always like it, but I trust in it.

And so, I stop, I listen and I hear God speaking to me. Not quite like a burning bush kind of moment but He is telling me to be still. He’s got this. He has my friends. He has my daughter. He has my husband and his job and our family. God is in control.

This is going to be a fabulous year. We are entering a new chapter in our lives and I can’t wait to read the next page.

If you would like to join me on this journey, please subscribe. I would love to stay in touch and connect with my fellow humans.

Into the desert


Neil Diamond belted out, “America” as Ken navigated the website to our timeshare.
“Hey babe,” he called. I looked up from my steaming cup of tea as I heard Ken convey to me that we had a thousand points left over that were about to expire. “We should use those before the end of the year.”

I explained how the five weeks of being off work have really negatively affected his judgement as he shared with me a mid-week special that he found in Palm Springs.

Soon after, seven-year-old Clare was crying because it was not going to snow in our southern California neighborhood for Christmas. Five-year-old Sara Lynn then bawled because, although it wasn’t going to snow it was still winter and mommy was not going to let her go out in her bathing suit to romp in the sprinklers. Next thing I know, two-year-old Aaron, whom everyone calls Beb, was en pointe at the fridge, cup in hand, helping himself to water from the spigot, only to land on his tush, a lake of water surrounding his island of a body.

“When can we leave?” I called out.

So, a week before Christmas, with the cards still sitting on the kitchen counter, multiple presents still left to purchase, and even more presents needing to be wrapped and jammed under the tree we took off for the oasis in the desert, remarking how much we were like Jesus, and planned to construct our own personal retreat.

Our trip was lovely. We dined in “The Purple Room,” where the essence of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis, Jr. resonated the once smoke filled room. We marveled at the intricacies of the plot line while watching, “Knives Out” at the local cinema. On top of that, we managed to squeeze in some shopping for the family as I pointed out a few items that I would need to add to my own Christmas list when we got home.

But, laying out by the pool is my favorite memory. The sun had just dipped behind the backdrop of a hill. The air was crisp, yet the sky was a crystal blue. With book in hand I drank it all in. For a moment I closed my eyes and just listened. There was a makeshift waterfall rushing toward the pool below. Behind it, a hot tub, offering warmth and comfort to its guests, their low voices rising above the bubbles. In the distance I heard the melody of Christmas music bringing cheer to the upcoming season.

Peace…I felt peace. No stress, no worry, no anxiety. The peace that surpasses understanding.

Ken and I took this opportunity away to consider the future. Certainly, there would be homeschooling, sporting events, and home improvement projects to keep us busy. But, also for us to contemplate was our life as a couple and as a family. Ken reflected on his new job that will begin January 2nd. I thought about my commitments to family life and how to incorporate my loved ones in my growing business. We discussed a ministry project that has been on our hearts for some time. We planned out the calendar for the upcoming months and reviewed which events would take place when.

Ken paused for a moment, took off his glasses, and gently placed them down on the table. “You know, babe, this whole trip was providential. I really felt God calling me to check our timeshare to make sure we had banked our points. What a blessing it was for us to have the points to use. And, I really felt God giving me the push to not lose them. He really wanted us here.”

So, God was calling us to the desert after all. And we surrendered.

“I’ve got it!” I jumped up and slapped the table. I was giddy with excitement. “It’s so obvious what our word for the year should be!” He looked at me in anticipation. Surrender!

We had been discussing some good ones-consistency, patience, persistence-but surrender fit us to a tee as we have been recently praying the novena together.

Oh, Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything. Yes, that was it. That is why we were here. To surrender to God our upcoming year. Jesus would take care of everything.

I sat down, took a long sip of iced cold water and expressed gratitude for the clarity.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in You.

Family Fun Day

Well, our oldest, Megan, married Mr. Shawn Roche on April 7th.


It was a wonderful, magical day and now the happy couple have started out their new life in Georgia…a mere one thousand, nine hundred, twenty miles away.

It’s back to normal around here. You know, normal with the rest of the gang. Saturdays means sports around here and while Dad and the boys were watching Mark throw the winning touchdown for his flag football team the girls and I (and baby Aaron) were at the soccer field with Jenna.

All I can say is, “Thank you God for the grace of patience.” These girls are busy!

The first thing is Sara was hungry…don’t feel too bad for her. Sara Lynn is ALWAYS hungry. Mostly, because she was bored. The game hadn’t begun yet and of course she couldn’t play with the toys we brought.

Aaron was content in the stroller but not for long. Clare and Sara made sure of that. They had to get in his face. And next thing I know he wanted out and wanted me. Yay. We spent most of the first half nursing with him squirming just enough to flail his arms and show off our little private moment to the world.


Meanwhile, Clare had to go to the bathroom. Thank goodness Stephanie was there to help me.


Finally, Aaron fell asleep but by then the breeze had pick up just enough to cause problems with the sportsbrella. So, there I was attempting to describe to the six year old how to attach the rope pieces to the lawn awning. Didn’t go well. Thank you coach for helping!

My favorite part came while the girls were fighting. Clare had the bag of umbrella pins and Sara had grabbed them. While they were playing tug o’ war I called out screaming, “Sara Lynn, make like Elsa and LET IT GO!” She voted to not obey. So, I had to bring out the big guns.

“Sara, maybe after the game, when all of the kids go out to lunch for their date with dad, I’ll just have to take you home.” Sara is just shy of four. She doesn’t go on dates with dad. She has to wait until she is five. So, today was going to be a special treat for her. My comment caused her to melt down, but not for the reasons I was thinking. She wasn’t as concerned about her Daddy as she was about her stomach.

All of a sudden she began screaming: I’M HUNGRY! I’M HUNGRY! I’M HUNNNGGGRY! And she was crying and crying as if she was never going to eat again. Oh dear…attempting to not wake up the sleeping nine month old I called her over to comfort my sweet daughter. Suddenly, I remembered the bag of peanuts I had in the diaper bag. Yesterday, as we were leaving Little Flowers my friend asked me if I wanted some because I mentioned I was hungry. I decided not to eat them as I was fasting for a friend who was having surgery. Thank goodness for that. Extra graces for my friend, and a snack for my daughter.

In the end, Jenna’s team won 2-1. Go REVOLUTION!!

We met up with the boys at Arby’s and enjoyed a nice lunch together. How blessed I am to spend the day with my family.

Giving Up

When I was a kid I always asked my mom what she was giving up for Lent. Every year it was the same answer. “I’m just not going to eat in between meals.” “But, what are you GIVING UP?!?” I protested back.

Giving up something for Lent was a tradition we held in my family. Granted it was one I didn’t really like. There was the year I gave up gum (I had braces and wasn’t supposed to be chewing gum). And the time I gave up donuts (however, the only time I ever ate donuts was after Mass on Sunday). So, I wasn’t really that great at giving stuff up. Obviously, I was so far gone I couldn’t see the sacrifice that my mom was making.

Lately, more emphasis has been given to adding something on instead of giving something up. To use your time, talent, and treasure for the greater glory of God. This year I have a little of both going on. I have decided to…

Worry less and have faith in God MORE.

Spend less time on Facebook and read Scripture MORE.

Allow the kids less screen time and spend MORE time with them, especially reading stories.


Now that I’m a grown up, I love Lent. It is my favorite time of the year. It is the time of year that I have the most discipline, the most will power. Heck, I’m the QUEEN of will power. Of course, Easter comes and then it all goes out the window. First, there’s Easter Sunday, but wait…then it’s the Octave of Easter. And THEN-there’s the whole Easter Season. After that, I’m toast.

Recently, I joined a Facebook group geared at helping harried housewives like me declutter their homes. One mom decided the less stuff she had, the more room she would have for Jesus.

With an impending wedding (our oldest, Megan, will be married the Saturday after Easter) and a nursing baby, decluttering has been put a bit on the back burner. But, I still liked the idea of MORE Jesus.

So, this year I decided I’m giving up. Once Lent is over and the celebration of the Resurrection has begun I’m not going to slip and slide. The whole point of Lent is to become holier, become closer to Christ. This Lent my focus will be on being better, not just for six weeks, but beyond. I won’t worry about discipline, or my lack there of-for I will be a disciple. And my will power will be God-power. It’s a tall order, I know. But our God is an awesome God! And I want my will to be His Will.

May you have a beautiful, holy, and Christ centered Lent.

What I like about you…

AKA: The Half that makes me whole part II
Ken has been going through some old papers recently-cards, mementos, receipts-back from when we were dating. I keep encouraging him to throw them away. Most are letters from me to him and they are embarrassingly gushy. A lot of mushy, mushy, I love you “forever and always” type of stuff. He was reflecting earlier that often times in his past relationships there were “I love you forever” moments, but this time it was for real.
It’s not that I’m not still head over heels in love with him. Just ask Sara Lynn how often she catches us “mooching.” It’s just over the top. For example, take this excerpt from our first Valentine’s Day together: “May our future bring us closer together and may our love grow into a beautiful flower.” And that is one of my milder lines.
But, despite that, here I am again, writing to my babe. Talking about how happy he makes me and what a wonderful husband and father he is. I guess I just can’t help myself.


Dear Ken,
After that last post I was thinking, did I accomplish my goal? Did I explain to my readers why you are my best friend? I spent a good deal of time conveying what an awe-inspiring husband and father you are, but I’d like to take a few minutes to make sense of what I like (love) about you.
Let’s begin with this morning. You were up and ready to rumble getting us out the door for sporting events. First, Jenna’s 8:00am soccer game and then onto Mark’s flag football game. Not only that, but what a team we make in getting these kids to and from practices. You are a champ to jump in and let me know you’ll be off work in time to run around and pick them up, even after working all day.


Next up, Dates with Dad. You make sure every month come heck or high water you spend time with our kids. I love that ever since Megan was 5 years old (and with each one turning that magical age of five) you’ve taken her on a date once a month. I love that you teach our daughters how they should be treated by a young man and teach our young men how they should be treating women.

And then, there is you and me…and how we’ve been dating since October 19, 1990. I look forward to every Friday night and our Holy Hour of Adoration together while the kids have Youth Group and then our little snack after. Not only do I get one on one time with Jesus, I get some precious alone time with you.

Speaking of church, from the beginning, you insisted that we attend Mass together as a family. Even when our “family” was just you and me. Now a days, thanks to you, we were able to, as a family, complete the Five First Saturday Devotions. You also lead us in making sure we attend Mass on First Fridays as well.
Of course, there are also confessions and our perpetual Fifty Four Day Rosary Novenas. And I love that you listened to the promptings of the Holy Spirit when it was suggested to you that we renew our consecration to the Blessed Mother, just in time for the 100th Anniversary of the Miracle of Fatima.
And don’t even get me started about an Openness to Life!! “Whatever you want, baby” began as a cute catch phrase during our engagement. Who knew it would also be the mantra of our marriage and little bundles of joy?

Homeschooling with you as my partner, not to mention-principal, has made my job smooth as silk. I certainly appreciate you doing school prep with our upper grade students and keeping the entire class (and teacher!) accountable for their work.
I love that you listen to me, for your ability to follow along with a story that weaves its way around like a plate of spaghetti. I love how patient you are with me, especially when my money tracking book is unmanageable, again, and even though you are an accountant you never criticize me for my ability to not subtract two simple numbers. I love that I can come to you for anything and how you always seem to fix my problems. I love how much fun we have together: the laughing, the teasing, the inside jokes.
I truly do love you and will continue to do so “forever and always”-even if it sound like a common cliché.
Your adorable Boo, Laurie

The Half that makes me Whole


When I was about five years old I went up to my mom one day and staring at her with my big brown eyes asked her a very important question:
“Mommy, who is your best friend?”
She promptly answered, “Your dad.”
“Eww,” I responded. “Daddy can’t be your best friend! Girls have to have girl best friends and boys have boy best friends,” I explained. You can see I thought a lot about this.
Growing up that conversation never left me. And although I loved my dad dearly, I couldn’t understand how this grumpy Italian could be anyone’s best friend. But I’m glad he was my mom’s.

I, too, am married to my best friend. If you know me for five minutes you’ll know I also have a best “girl” friend, Haylee, but I don’t think she’ll mind if I talk about my dear husband. Ken might mind because he’ll read this post and in humility say, “Wow, she’s got a great husband. Wish I could meet him.” That’s just one of his best features.

Let me walk you through a typical day in the Shepardson Household. The alarm buzzes at 5:55am. I don’t hear it. I never hear it despite needing to be up by 6:00 to get Sissy ready for school. But Ken does. He gets up and immediately kneels at the foot of the bed to begin his day in prayer. Then he rubs my leg to rouse me to greet my day. On most days he encourages me to pray the morning offering with him even though I’m not ready to speak yet. Then he gets ready for work.

Ken NEVER misses a day of work. Okay, he has at least 11 times while I’m in the hospital giving birth to one of our children. But really, he never skips work. He takes his role as a provider very seriously. And, yet, when he’s not at work, he doesn’t bring it home. He doesn’t worry about it. Doesn’t fret. He used to bring his laptop when we went on vacation but he doesn’t do that anymore either.

When he does get home, he goes into dad mode. After sliding an LP onto his record player he enjoys one of his classic rock albums while he serves the family dinner and leads us in prayer. I’ll admit, praying to Led Zepplin is sometimes awkward.

After dinner he works on kitchen clean up. He is a master dishwasher loader!

The best part is he’s around to make sure the kids do their work. This is huge!!

After dinner he’ll read some mail and pay some bills. By 8:15 it’s time to sit down to read and pray. One night he’ll read from the Bible, another evening may be a catechism lesson. Also, he has a novel or saint biography that he adds to the rotation. On Thursday evenings we review the readings for the upcoming Mass on Sunday.

Ken even reads to us while we’re on vacation.

After reading we pray the family Rosary, with dad keeping us on track, even when he dozes off, err, I mean while he’s deep in meditation.

Before retiring for the night we send the kids to bed, Ken writes his plan for the next day, and we settle down to watch a TV show, enjoying some us time.


Stay tuned for The Half that makes me whole, part 2!


Aaron Robert Augustine

It’s been seven plus weeks now. I figure I should introduce to you our latest addition. Here is baby Aaron, born July 16, 2017, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Maybe he’s going to be a Carmelite. Craig says he’s going to be a baseball player.

Craig is quite the baseball fan!

Aaron is an easy baby. Doesn’t cry much. Doesn’t spit up. Takes a pacifier. But what is truly remarkable about Aaron is he shouldn’t be here. I know I keep harping on my age but really, women my age don’t typically have babies. Daily I whisper in his ear, “You are a miracle-God has a plan for your life.”
I am truly in awe of God’s goodness. Why did he choose to bless us again? I mean, if He had come down and asked Ken and I if we wanted another one we both would have said, “No” or maybe even, “NOOO!!!”. Maybe, just maybe we would have said, “No, thank you.” But, “Yes!”?? Um, that’s not where we were.


So, why did God choose to bless us again? We, who are so selfish? Because HE is good. And He has a plan. And even though we don’t deserve it we get to be a part of that plan. God has a plan for Aaron’s life. He has a plan for your life, too. Can you see it?