Saturday, September 29, 2007

Announcing my new book, "Catholic Saints Prayer Book"

I am excited to announce that my new book, Catholic Saints Prayer Book (Our Sunday Visitor Publishing) will be released in March 2008! Amazon.Com already has it available for preorder! In a month or so the cover image will be posted at Amazon. I will post it here as soon as I have it from the publisher. To preorder from me for a signed copy just follow this link to my "Author's Store" for details.

This Saints book would be ideal for Confirmation kids who are deciding upon their patron Saints. It's also a wonderful little book to learn more about our friends the Saints, our intercessors in Heaven! This book is a compilation of 34 Saints that I chose to bring to you! It is appropriate for anyone wanting to learn more about the Saints and what they have to offer us on our own journeys. There is a biography of each with an original prayer to each one as well as inspiring quotes from them included in this book. It is a hardcover book in a smaller format so that it is suitable for carrying in one's purse, briefcase, diaper bag or to leave on the coffee table or nightstand for those times when it can be picked up for some inspiration.

Guess what we did yesterday?

Friday, September 28, 2007

A Friday Surprise!

For this "Friends on Friday," I'd like to spotlight my friend, Sarah from "Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering!" Take a few moments to read this heartwarming story! I know that you will enjoy it. :) Happy Friday, Everyone! God bless you!

"Friday morning, I was dead set on going to Woody’s, and no one was going to hold me up. Fridays have been, for the last few weeks or so, a time when our office staff (all whopping three of us!) get lunch together. By lunchtime on Fridays of late, we’re ready to vent a little and laugh a little.

Friday was no different. It had been a week in September (which, I’m remembering now that I’m in the midst of it, is about the equivalent to a week in May), worthy of all the groans and sighs and rolling eyes I could give it. It doesn’t help that my patience level is challenged by the frequent rib cage punches I’m getting internally, I suppose, and that I’m about as pregnant as I can be. (I feel like I’m using that as an excuse a lot lately. But I also feel like some of my rollercoaster reactions to things are attributable to that. If not that, then I need to say some serious prayers for St. Dymphna’s intercession, because I’m losing my mind!)

I was ready to go to Woody’s. The ladies and I piled into a car, and we headed over to Nama Gloria’s to drop off Miss Muffet for her Friday with Nama (and, of course,
the Kitty of Infamous Patience, Sassy). Nama had a certain chatty look about her as she rocked on her dreamy porch under the shade of the front tree. I braced myself for a quick departure – I was HUNGRY and I wanted some barbeque pork in the worst way.

“Hey girls, come on in. I have a little project to show you on the back porch.” Ever the crafty person, Gloria is the sort of person I could just spend all day visiting with. I thought about just inviting her along to Woody’s as we walked through her house.

As she opened the screen door to her deck, she said, “Well, I guess we can all keep a secret,” and something like 23 women yelled “SURPRISE!” and I could only think, “Great, NOW it’s going to be a while before we get to Woody’s” and then..." ( Continued here.)

An article about my new book, Mother Teresa and my family

The Catholic Standard and Times out of Philadelphia just published an article about my newest book, Prayerfully Expecting: A Nine Month Novena For Mothers-To-Be. It is complete with a couple of Mother Teresa photos with me and with my son, Joseph. You can click on the link to read it here.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Well, I've procrastinated long enough...

Barb, sfo said...
That's the shadow of someone (you?) praying the Rosary?

September 25, 2007 8:10 PM

Tracy said...
looks like a statue with a rosary.

September 25, 2007 8:47 PM

Alexandra said...
A statue? The arm up reminds me of Saint Anna Maria Taigi, but it maybe Saint Lucy with the eyes, but no dish... someone added a rosary? The outline of the hair reminds me of Saint Jaon of Arc.

September 25, 2007 9:42 PM

Jaime Gregory said...
That's your shadow, Donna, holding a Rosary.

September 26, 2007 12:06 PM

Carey said...
I would say its you, with a new haircut, possibly holding a rosary in one hand, and the camera in the other.

September 27, 2007 8:32 AM

I loved reading all of your answers! I said the that the first one who guesses corectly will win a book so, the winner is...BARB! The "mysterious" picture is a shadow of me walking down a dirt road on a morning walk with a Rosary in my hand. I had the camera with me in case I spotted something pretty in nature and then I spotted the shadow and did this little contest just for fun! :) So, Barb, email me at DCooperOBoyle(at)aol(dot)com with your address, please.

New study shows that teenage girls with close circle of friends less likely to take abuse from boys

The teenage years can be turbulent and challenging. As teens grow into their new bodies they also begin to define their sense of self as individuals in a deeper way than they have thus far. They form friendships and possibly romantic relationships.

New research was recently published in the September 20 issue of the journal BMC Nursing that suggests that teenage girls are less likely to take sexual abuse from boys if they stick with a tight knit circle of female friends. The group of friends provides a safety net and structure which helps the teen age girls a great deal as they strive to navigate their teen years safely.

This is "music" to a parent's ear! Let's keep those wholesome girlfriend relationships encouraged while keeping a close eye on activities with our youth.

To read the MSNBC article about this study click here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I know you are really wondering!

I will let you know tomorrow (Thursday) about the "mysterious" picture!

Have you seen this?

Have you seen this EWTN KIDS website? Wow! I just came across it and I think it's great! Take a look. It's interactive and entertaining and helps to teach kids their Catholic faith. Turn up your volume and be prepared to hear something really cute when you click on the link!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Are we feeling joyful today?


Are we all feeling joyful today? Maybe we're tired because we've been up half the night with a sick child or a colicky baby. Perhaps there are various stresses and strains that we are experiencing. The never-ending household chores may be looming over us. We may have a son or daughter who is in harm's way fighting for our country. We also may have older children who may be in harm's way from our twisted society - and we are praying for them to stay on the straight and narrow.

Where is our joy? Do we express it? Do we try to acquire joy even when our hearts feel trampled? Do we pray for joy so that we can help light the way for others who are less fortunate than ourselves? And for those in our families?

Blessed Mother Teresa said, "Joy is not simply a matter of temperament. In the Service of God and souls, it is always hard to be joyful--all the more reason why we should try to acquire it and make it grow in out hearts.

"Joy is prayer, joy is strength, joy is love by which we catch souls. God loves a cheerful giver. She gives most who gives with joy. If you have difficulties and you accept them with joy, with a big smile--in this, like in any other thing--they will see your good works and glorify the Father. The best way to show your gratitude is to accept everything with joy. A joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love."

Let us take a few moments to ponder on Mother Teresa's words to us. You may be surprised and find like I have on so many occasions that joy is contagious! It may help to get rid of the "grumpies" around us or within us! A little bit of joy can go a LONG way in the household or wherever we may find ourselves! It is very challenging at times. However, a simple smile can change someone's heart! Are we up for the challenge?

In His Joy!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Reflection on a Mother's Role in Her Family

Take some time to reflect on the
awesome role you have as a mother of your
family, as the nucleus of that group of people
that God has brought together. Try to develop
a plan for prayer. Prayer a conversation with the
Divine, is always appropriate at any time.
Raising your heart and mind to God can be done
whenever you want...while going about your
work or at quiet times. Think about the
Holy Family and their prayerful attitude
about life. Let us pray, as mothers to
be the guide for our families
to help them reach their
final destiny.

--excerpt fromCatholic Prayer Book for Mothers

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Close to home...

We live in difficult times, especially for teenage and "tweenage" girls. Girls these days are up against so much pressure to conform to what society thinks a young girl should look like and be like. Magazines are filled with the young pop stars who are consistently in the news for their use of drugs, their underage or abusive drinking and for starving themselves to death - literally. The Internet is a source for the same images as is the TV and movies.

Even when parents are careful with the upbringing of their children, they may inadvertently miss some red flags. Most parents are consumed with work, getting ahead to pay the bills and live a good life. And there are parents who care so much for their children and through no fault of their own, the children still get led astray.

We just heard about a young teen aged girl that we knew who is now at a rehabilitation center on the other side of the country. What a lovely, polite girl she was and from a very nice Church-going family. I'll call her Shelly. We have known Shelly for years. She was not the type to get into any trouble AT ALL. But poor Shelly suffered from very low self esteem. Nobody knew. She then became friends with a girl I will call Tracy. The two of them began to hang out together. Shelly began to disassociate with her closer friends which wasn't very obvious to anyone because it happened over time. Everyone gets busy, even kids with homework and activities -- so no one realized what was happening. It turns out that Tracy was involved with drugs and enticed Shelly to try them. Shelly did try them and became involved with drugs and also became anorexic and began losing weight.

Thank God that Shelly's parents did eventually realize what was happening before it was too late. Shelly is now getting excellent help and is very thankful. She has admitted that there was a time throughout all of this that she almost died! Please say a little pray for this girl and for all those in this situation. She could use all of the prayers that you can spare, I'm sure. Parents have to be sure they know who their children are hanging out with and also need to realize that their children truly NEED their supervision at every stage of development. Kids need to be involved in wholesome activities.

And please keep your eyes open for alarming behaviors that may be hidden just beneath the surface of children and teenagers. We can help sometimes with just a listening ear; by giving up a little time to truly listen to someone who may be crying out for attention and help.

We need to pray for our youth who walk out onto a battleground each day, it seems; just being a teenager is so tough. Also, please pray for the girl who led Shelly astray. Her parents from what I hear, are totally oblivious to what's going on and that is a sad shame indeed - for the girl and for all those she will try to lead down the same path because of her own weaknesses and need of healing.

Oh dear, Lord, please help us all. Please look kindly upon Your dear children. Please dear Lord, heal our brokenness. Help us to open our hearts to extend Your love to others in need. Blessed Mother Mary please protect us all from the snares of the devil and lead us all on the path that leads to Heaven! Amen.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Light reading...

Yesterday it was my turn to pick up my daughter, Mary-Catherine and her girlfriends from their after school meeting. It was a beautiful day - very sunny and warmer than it has been lately. I got the girls and proceeded to drive them home when an idea came to me.

"Would you like to stop at the pastry shop to get some gelato?" I asked them. The day was getting warmer and it felt like summer again. I received an affirmative answer from the back seat!

At the pastry shop, the owner came around the counter to see us and gave us a warm greeting. After we told her why we were there she allowed the girls to taste as many flavors as they wanted until they decided on just the right one. I had my eye on a lemon sorbet looking one. It looked very refreshing. I tasted it and it was delicious. Then I spotted another lemon one on the left and asked if I could try that.

"This is delicious!" I told her. What's the difference between the two lemon flavors?"

"The second one has liquor!"

"What? Liquor?"

I then spotted a sign on the glass display case indicating that the lemon flavor I had just tried could not be served to children! Wow, that's the first time I heard of liquor in a gelato.

Meanwhile the girls were still taste testing! The woman and I began to chat. I asked her how everything was going and she told me that she was miserable because her daughter had just gone off to college out of state.

"Oh! I know what you mean! My daughter, Jessica returned to college and my son, Joseph just entered! I can't stand it either!"

The girls decided on flavors. I naturally chose the lemon (with the alcohol!). Not because of the alcohol, of course! But because it was refreshing.

The woman and I chatted some more about our children off at school as she rang us out at the register.

"I worry about her. I don't know if she's cold or if she's eating enough. If I don't hear from her for a day - forget about it!!" she explained to me very passionately. I truly understood.

"I feel your pain," I said smiling.

Her face lit up and she said, "But I'm going to see her this week end!"

"Well, when you get back we should have some lemon gelato together some time," I said. "We'll sit over there and commiserate!!"

"Yes! And I'll bring the bottle!"

[note: this reflection is by no means promoting alcohol, it's just a slice of life and lighthearted reading. :)]

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Prayer Tips for Busy Moms

We have to face it. Dedicated Moms really don't have time to call their own. Once they become a mother, and even in pregnancy, their hearts are joined to that little one inside her womb or her children outside it. Her care for her child is without limits and often goes into the night and even throughout the night. A mother's care for her children is 24/7, I don't think we'll have any disagreement here.

So, how does a busy Mom find the time to pray when she is inundated with the care of the family? Even Moms who know that they absolutely need to pray for the survival of the family cannot seem to find that essential time. What can she do?

I recommend that mothers get into the habit of raising their hearts and minds to the Lord the first thing in the morning. When she opens her eyes to a new day she can offer her heart to the Lord and pray a Morning Offering in her own words or the formal words. She will have then offered her entire day over to the Lord with all its craziness and chaos, joys and sorrows - everything to Him. Mother Teresa called this "total surrender." We surrender our very lives to Him.

Then when the day begins to get busy, usually when we first wake up (and perhaps it had been throughout the night with baby feedings, diaper changes, care of sick children and all) we have already offered our days with all its busyness to God and He is pleased.

Of course, we strive to find those quiet moments always throughout our days; perhaps at nap times or when there might be a little lull in the schedule. Then we offer our hearts again to Him who gives us life. He will bless our days, craziness and all. And we will know in our hearts that He is in control because we have given everything to Him. He will help us to find occasions for prayer and we will have peace even amid the hectic pace in the household because we are trusting in Him and accepting our amazing vocation of motherhood right in the heart of our home - right in our Domestic churches!

Do you have a prayer tip that you would like to share? Feel free to leave it as a comment. I hope to hear from you. :)

God bless!

Monday, September 17, 2007

This and That Monday

Lisa Hendey over at Catholic Mom just pointed out that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has a website called, "To Teach." This site is absolutely packed with information and resources to help TEACH! This month's topics are: Encountering the Living Christ, For Principals and School Boards, For Educators, For Parents, Forming Adult Faith, Compendium Corner. Check it out, whether you are a Catechist or not, you may find something interesting to help with the teaching that you do to someone in your life.

Sarah has a beautiful reflection about the blessings of children over at Catholic Online. I know you'll love it!

Lisa Hendey has already got her sixth Podcast up and running. Where does she get her energy?! Go on over to listen to her interview with two authors.

Heidi Hess Saxton will be hosting the Catholic carnival this week. See all of the details here. But you'd better hurry!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

What do you think?

Teresa Tomeo and I will be having another Mom's Corner coming up soon on her "Catholic Connection" show on Ave Maria Radio. I'll let you know when I have the date. I'd like to know what subject or subjects you are interested in hearing about. Do you have any parenting questions? We've talked about passing down the faith to our kids, summer parenting and prayer, books, inspiration, and more.

What are some topics that you'd like to hear about? Don't forget that you can call into the show, too. Just leave me a comment here at "Embracing Motherhood" or send me an email at DMCooperOBoyle(at)aol(dot)com with your suggestions. Thanks for your participation! :)

God bless!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Slice of Life

Recently my daughter, Mary-Catherine went into her brother Joseph's bedroom to feed his tortoise since Joseph is away at college. I had previously stripped Joseph's bed to put fresh sheets on but was not in a hurry to do so since Joseph is away. When Mary-Catherine saw Joseph's bed looking so empty she came out and said to me, "Mom, can you please put some sheets on Joseph's bed - it looks so depressing!" Awwe, she misses him. And so do we all!

On a funnier note, one time recently when we were on our way home from an evening weekly Mass, my daughter, Mary-Catherine and I chatted a bit in the car and then Mary-Catherine decided to listen to her music on her IPod for a few minutes before we got home. As she put her music on, I made the Sign of the Cross because I was about to begin a Rosary. Mary-Catherine instinctively started to make the Sign of the Cross too after seeing me peripherally, even though she was starting to listen to her music. Then she suddenly turned to me to say, "Mom! That's not a Catholic Church!" We had just passed a Baptist church and Mary-Catherine for an instant was thinking that I thought I should bless myself while passing that church. I laughed and told her that I was just blessing myself because I was starting a Rosary!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Friends on Friday

Recently I had the pleasure of chatting with another Catholic Mom blogger, Alice, at Cottage Blessings about our kids and our devotion to them. We talked about feeling sad for the Moms who miss out because they have bought into the world's allurements. We shared our joys about mothering. Alice shared a beautiful reflection with me that I would like to share with you! She said...

A Promise Kept
Two bright-eyed girls whirled round the dance floor at the Knights of Columbus St. Patrick’s Day Party last night--one a slim and lively eleven year old, the other a dimpled baby. The baby squealed delightedly with each bounce and bump, the deep burbling sounds of a well-entertained nine-month-old. The older girl twirled as if she would never stop, spurred by that irresistible laughter—more musical than music itself.

Watching these two girls—my own daughters Theresa and Eileen—it struck me how unusual a thing it is these days to see sisters a decade apart. My mind wandered back to a time in the almost forgotten past:

My fiancé and I are leaning over black and white composition books, comparing the answers to questions asked of us at the Cana Conference Retreat. We are completing an exercise meant to ensure we each know the other’s plans for married life. The first question reads:

“How many children do you hope to have?”

An optimistic “At least eight” appears in my feminine slant, and in my fiancé’s masculine scrawl, “About half a dozen.”

We both want a large family. So far, so good.

The next question continues:

“How soon do you want to start a family?”

A confident “Right away” appears plainly in the feminine slant, but this time the masculine scrawl is nowhere to be seen.

What is the meaning of this, I wonder. Aren’t we both ready to start a family?

My fiancé looks at me seriously and explains, “I would love to begin a family right away, but my fear is that, years from now, you will remember the career you left behind and feel sorry. I don’t ever want you to have any regrets.”

“I will never feel that way,” I assure him with confidence.

“How do you know?”

“Because I know myself. It would not be possible for me to feel that way.”

And that was that.

I woke from my reverie to find my husband motioning something to me, his eyes twinkling meaningfully—our little boy was on the dance floor attempting the “Cotton Eye Joe” in awkward, oversized red snowboots (none of us had noticed his unconventional footwear until we arrived at the party). We laughed as only two parents, united through the Sacrament of Matrimony, but also in infinite love for a child, can laugh. Sitting there at that table, with our children dotting the dance floor like violets in a May meadow, we shared another moment among millions to remember the undeniable Truth of the Catechism: “Children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of the parents themselves.” [CCC 1652.]

And I secretly gloated thinking upon my own prescient words of self-awareness, “It would not be possible for me to feel that way.” Indeed, I never have and never will.

Years ago, I remember telling a dear friend and former classmate of mine we were expecting our first child. She responded as our culture has taught her, and, as she heartily believed even without any real life experience, “What a waste!”

Please understand, as I repeat these words, they held no sting for me then or now. I know, in fact, she meant them as a backhanded compliment, a tribute to my “worth.” Her sensibilities were steeped in society’s pervasive notion that children should be, particularly for the educated woman, an afterthought, best left until prominence, profit and partnership are all checked off the to do list. My heart went out to her in honest sympathy, as I imagined her wearing her youth away, perhaps never tasting the joy I was already feeling just knowing a precious heart was even then beating beneath my own.

And what of that to do list? What price would have been exacted for prominence, profit and partnership?

Prominence would have required my twenties. The children of my twenties were Agnes, Theresa, and Margaret.

Profit would have sought my early thirties. The children of my early thirties were Marie and Patrick.

Partnership’s capital investment would have been paid during my late thirties. The children of my late thirties were Maureen and Eileen.

Somehow, I think I would have been working off the wrong list.

Is it any wonder I reaffirm today, but with even greater fervor and emphasis, that promise, spoken all those years ago: “I will never feel that way. It would be impossible for me to feel that way.”

But this time, I am uttering a heartfelt Deo Gratias to go along with it.

[As I post this piece, I want to include a note to make sure it does not have the unintended effect of hurting any women or mothers who work outside the home, particularly those who strive to make a better life for their families. My reflection is meant as an affirmation that children are a greater source of joy and fulfillment than unnecessary ambition.] This piece above was written by Alice Gunther and appears at her blog, Cottage Blessings.

Prayerfully Expecting

I just found this review over at Barnes & Noble.Com...

Charlene Chautin, a Catholic mother of three, 09/12/2007
The Perfect Gift for Any Expectant Mother

This wonderful journal offers mothers not only the chance to record the physical and emotional stages of pregnancy, but also to grow spiritually as the young life develops within her. With suggested prayer, mysteries of the Rosary, and novenas in fact the book is meant to transform pregnancy into a nine month novena. Each month has also has a description of the physical changes that the baby is experiencing. I would definitely recommend this book for any pregnant woman.
Also recommended: The Heart of Motherhood: Finding Holiness in the Catholic Home


Thank you, Charlene!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Catholic Carnival

The Catholic Carnival is up and ready. Go on over to Sarah's place, Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering. As usual she has done a terrific job! She is so gracious to host these Catholic carnivals so often - and this is while she's running around after a toddler and expecting to give birth to another child in the very near future. Great job, Sarah! Thanks for pulling it off once again!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Kids out of the doesn't feel right

Recently I was lamenting about missing my son, Joseph who just went off to college. I likened the feeling to that of a mother bird pushing her baby bird out of the nest, but I don't feel ready to give that last push...

I said:

"It just doesn't feel right. I don't like sitting down to dinner with that empty chair across the table from me. It's really hitting me. My son, Joseph left for college just last week end. I am very proud of him. He's worked so hard at his studies and community service. But, why does he have to grow up so fast?

It's so true that our kids are on loan to us. Parents help them to form their consciences and raise them in virtue; steering them to the straight and narrow path that leads to Heaven.

I've been talking with a lot of parents lately about missing their kids. One Mom told me that she thinks she needs some "serious counseling!" She doesn't like her son out of the house so much embarking on his career after high school. Another Mom told me the other day that she cried for a couple of weeks before her son left for college because he was the last one leaving the nest. She added that he just recently called home to ask her a laundry question."

There are also parents who can't wait for the "freedom" they feel they will have when their children leave home, thinking that they've raised them for many years and they now want to relax or travel. I personally don't understand that kind of thinking but I realize that not every parent can relate to the empty HOLE feeling I have when my children leave. To be honest, I'd have to say it is bittersweet, but truly for me it is mostly bitter! I am so happy for each of my children when they reach the age to continue their education or embark on their career, but because I am such a MOM, I also hate it so. It's part of life, the part that's difficult for me.

It's doubly hard for me this year because I also miss my daughter, Jessica who just went back to college a few days after Joseph entered. Jessica is also out of state. But I am so proud of her, too. She works very hard and excels at college. She also has a big heart and does a lot of community service volunteering.

A Mom recently got in touch with me who also experienced that big HOLE feeling that I described about kids being absent from the home. She said, "I'm finding unexpected holes in the fabric of our family life, right alongside the ones I've expected. Who knew it would hurt so much, feel so strange? I am holding fast to the hope that there are unexpected joys soon to come as well." I told her that "there will be unexpected blessings (I know because Joseph is my fourth child "leaving" the nest). But, for now, we have that big HOLE in our family's tapestry. It's tough to push our children forth but we do it with with God's blessings and continued prayers. Don't worry, they'll be back, :)" I said.

Then last night, my daughter Chaldea came over for dinner (she's 25 years old and a college graduate). She's embarking on a trip across the country today (Oh my, lots of Rosaries are in order here!) and came over to spend some time before leaving for two weeks (yikes!). We had dinner together and then I took out the big brown bag of apples I had bought earlier so that I could make apple crisp for dessert. So, Chaldea and I sat at the kitchen table conversing and peeling that big mound of apples (Mary-Catherine had lots of homework to do, otherwise she'd be right there helping with the apple peeling). What a treat to have uninterrupted time with my daughter as we peeled the apples and chatted. I put the rest of the ingredients together for three pans of apple crisp and Chaldea popped onto the Internet on a laptop in the kitchen to show me the places where she would be visiting.

I remember when Chaldea left the nest a few years ago and how hard that was ushering another "child" into adulthood. I am so very proud of her for all of her accomplishments, but mostly for her kind and loving heart! She is a treasure to be sure. I cherished our moments peeling apples together last night, something she may not realize or fully understand until she has her own children. But, I think she knows how happy I am to be with her and all of my children.

So, to respond to that Mom's wondering about "unexpected blessings and joys" after the children have left home, YES the blessings will come and are found in our everyday lives. We have to seek them when we can, grab onto them and CHERISH them!

I just enjoyed a dish of apple crisp while I wrote this reflection! :)

(I plan on a Rosary and Mass later on for a safe trip for my daughter!)

PS To all of the parents out there with very young children: You may think that this talk about college and kids out of the nest certainly does NOT pertain to your life. After all, there is your little darling in your arms or on your lap. Trust me, they grow quickly and I haven't found a way to slow down time. It's very doubtful that you will either. Enjoy your family life, hanging onto your dinners together and family time. Later on, in time, that little baby that you are holding in your arms now will be all grown up--bringing back his or her own children to see you!

Monday, September 10, 2007

One expectant mother's sentiments

I came across a beautiful reflection from an expectant mother at The Wellsprings of Traditional Life who tells us about her pregnancies and what she has learned about living in the present moment, cherishing her children and pregnancies.

She said, "Early pregnancy is such a joyful time! And as it should be for ALL mothers! In January of this year, I was an excited mother for what would be the second time. With my positive pregnancy test in hand my husband, son and I soon began preparations for the new baby. However, God had another plan that was different than mine. I lost my second child, who we named Gabriel, at 8 weeks. It was a shock because at first my pregnancy signs seemed good and my HCG levels rose? Was science playing a trick on me? But suddenly the baby seemed to just stop growing. During the last week of my pregnancy I became almost obsessed with my symptoms, always trying to decode them to see if I would get to raise this child or if I would lose him. Well, I did lose my precious Gabriel, and I was left wondering why I wasted the time I did have with him to anxiety, worrying and needless suffering.

Today, I can look back at this experience and say it was the hardest one of my life but at the same time one that I am extremely thankful for it! I learned many things from it that are just so very priceless. I learned that we must cherish every minute we have with our children, (even when still in the womb) and not waste it worrying about how the next test will turn out, or what the future holds..." (her post is continued here which also includes tips from St. Francis de Sales)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

It doesn't feel right...Kids out of the nest

It just doesn't feel right. I don't like sitting down to dinner with that empty chair across the table from me. It's really hitting me. My son, Joseph left for college just last week end. I am very proud of him. He's worked so hard at his studies and community service. But, why does he have to grow up so fast?

It's so true that our kids are on loan to us. Parents help them to form their consciences and raise them in virtue; steering them to the straight and narrow path that leads to Heaven.

I've been talking with a lot of parents lately about missing their kids. One Mom told me that she thinks she needs some "serious counseling!" She doesn't like her son out of the house so much embarking on his career after high school. Another Mom told me the other day that she cried for a couple of weeks before her son left for college because he was the last one leaving the nest. She added that he just recently called home to ask her a laundry question.

What's your back-to-school story?

Friday, September 7, 2007

Speaking with Teresa Tomeo on Ave Maria Radio this morning about Mother Teresa

In case you didn't get a chance to tune in to Teresa Tomeo's show, here is the link to our discussion about Mother Teresa in light of the fact that ten years after her death, Mother Teresa is being criticized by the secular media which is saying that Mother Teresa lost her faith.

The Blessings of Everyday

The Blessings of Everyday

Thank you, dear Lord for my life,
and the blessings of everyday.
Thank you for the children You have blessed me with.
Help me to remember that they are on loan to me,
So that I may help mold their consciences
And allow them to grow.
Teach me to teach them
As I strive to help them find
The true essence of themselves.
Help me to find the opportunities
To grow along with them
As we journey through life
In the profound blessing of the family.

(from my book, Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Speaking with Teresa Tomeo on "Catholic Connection" radio show

I want to remind you all that I will be on "Catholic Connection" tomorrow morning with Teresa Tomeo at 9:30 AM Eastern time discussing Mother Teresa and the current comments and criticisms of her in the media regarding her interior struggles which were just brought to light by Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk the Postulator and Author of the new book about Mother Teresa’s hidden interior spiritual life, Come be My Light published by Doubleday. Tune in here at 9:30 AM EASTERN time. In case you miss the program, I will be posting a link to the segment on this blog afterwards.

Review in Irish newspaper, "Irish Family Press" on "The Heart of Motherhood"

The Heart of Motherhood Review for the Irish Family Press, Ireland

By Ann-Marie Madden

I got hold of a book two weeks ago, written by our new columnist, Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, and sat down to review and see what I could learn from Donna’s experience. I thought I’d try and hit two birds with one stone and share my impressions with you- a sort of review if you will. I was delighted with this opportunity because I never give myself the chance to read – and now I had the perfect reason! The book is entitled ‘The Heart of Motherhood’ and as I devoured the book I found it to be not only a beautiful read but I was also able to apply much of its content to my everyday life.

The chapters of the book were wonderfully written to more or less reach a mother’s heart. Important lessons were written so that a mother can try and receive as many blessings and grace possible for her to endure all that the role of being a mother can entail. But just as important as the lessons are the opportunities for a mother to achieve grace and blessing for her family as well. At first some of the ideals that the author proposes seem a little quaint, but by the time Donna-Marie explains her reasons and backs them with quotes from Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, various heavy hitting saints and the Catechism of the Catholic Church one kind of has to step up to the plate and see the beautiful insight given for all of us readers. For instance, love in a family is obviously necessary but part of the love that Donna-Marie is focusing on is love in sacrifice. She writes, ‘Suffering and pain are assured realities of our lives on earth. We cannot run or hide from them. As mothers, we are sometimes asked by God to suffer quietly for Him. Little sacrifices, heartaches, or pain patiently carried can become redemptive. When offered up to God, these sufferings ultimately will be used as a means to our salvation and our family’s salvation.’ What I truly appreciate in this example from the book is that there is a true lesson for me on what to do with real day situations. Sometimes difficult moments and hardships that I bear as a mother can actually be used for my betterment and can have a redemptive quality if I bear it accordingly with patience and love.

Donna-Marie was fortunate enough to meet Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and was able to keep in contact with her for ten years. And in this time they had “heart-to-hearts” conversations which the author shares with us through out the book. Regarding that quote on suffering above, she adds: ‘We can recall Blessed Teresa’s words saying that if we “really love one another properly there must be sacrifice”. All of the graces we need to carry on will be provided just for the asking. Let’s not forget to ask.’

I believe this book has much to offer mothers for Donna-Marie herself has five children and it can be seen that much of her writing are from her own spiritual journey of mothering, raising a family, and ensuring that her home is a safe haven for her family unit to be nurtured and rejuvenated. But most importantly, I love the way Donna-Marie holds, proves, and assures, that despite the pressures and values of a modern materialistic world motherhood is God given and should be restored to its proper dignity.

More information about Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle can be found on

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

My interview with Nissa Gadbois of "Simple Gifts"

You should probably brew yourself a cup of tea or coffee and have a seat. This will be a lengthy interview with Nissa Gadbois of Simple Gifts who so graciously spoke with me today about our beloved Mother Teresa, the Mother of all the poor now known as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. It was a blessed time recounting memories of my relationship with Mother Teresa and sharing the blessings with Nissa to be shared with all of you. I hope you enjoy Nissa's podcast and I pray that it will bring you many blessings!

Let us also pray together that we can help to light the way for others. Mother Teresa's work of caring for the poorest of the poor can and should be continued through you and me. Let us strive to open our eyes and ears to the plight of the poor around us. Mother Teresa so often spoke about the poor in our affluent nation here in the United States who are not poor in riches perhaps, rather they are poor in love. Can we allow our Lord to love through us to them? I certainly hope so.

Please dear Blessed Teresa look down upon us and hear our prayers for ourselves, our families and the poor and please intercede for us before the Blessed Trinity. Amen.

To hear my conversation today with Nissa, click here.

Hear Mother Teresa's voice

Visit the official website for Mother Teresa and hear her voice.

Blessed Teresa's Feast day!

"Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering and the lonely right there where you are -- in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and in your schools. ... You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have the eyes to see. Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by society -- completely forgotten, completely left alone."

Dear Blessed Mother Teresa pray for us! Help us to recognize the "poor" around us who may not be starving for lack of food, but may be starving for lack of love. Dear Lord, please open my eyes to your poorest of the poor who surround me in my everyday life so that I may help to ease their sufferings with Your love. Amen.

I will be back to post more later. I have three radio interviews today.

God bless!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta's feast day tomorrow

I'm sure you have all heard about Blessed Teresa's dark night of the soul that she suffered through while she ministered to God's poorest of the poor. Excerpts from Mother Teresa's private letters have been brought to light which reveal her interior struggles and sufferings. Of course, the secular media has misconstrued and distorted everything suggesting that Mother Teresa had lost her faith - how ludicrous! I will be speaking about that in posts and interviews in the upcoming days.

Tomorrow is the tenth anniversary of Mother Teresa's death. It's hard for me to believe that it has been that long. I will be posting a link here at "Embracing Motherhood" to an interview with Nissa Gadbois Simple Gifts by tomorrow sometime. She will be interviewing me later on today about Mother Teresa whom I was privileged to know.

Also, I will be featured on the "Catholic Connection" show with Teresa Tomeo on Ave Maria Radio this Friday, September 7th at about 9:30 AM EASTERN time. Please tune in to that which you can do from your computer.

My book, Unlikely Saints about Mother Teresa will be out early in 2008 published by The Crossroad Publishing Company.

Additionally, I wrote a cover story for the September issue of Canticle magazine titled, Mother Teresa and Me: Remembering the Mother of All the Poor. My son, Joseph (as a baby) appears on the cover in Mother Teresa'a arms.

It begins...
Sheer sweetness filled my heart as I watched my little girl bend down on one knee to genuflect before the Blessed Sacrament while making the Sign of the Cross on herself. A Missionary of Charity nun caught sight of her too, and felt compelled to run up behind my child, lean over and wrap her arms around her in a warm embrace. How kindhearted, I thought.
It happened so quickly and then I felt like my heart stopped when I suddenly realized who that nun was. Touched to see a small child remember to reverently say "good bye" to Jesus before leaving the chapel, Mother Teresa had hugged my daughter, Chaldea! That blessed hug was the first gesture of love from Mother Teresa that would touch my family.
This beloved moment came after we attended a Mass at the Missionaries of Charity chapel in Washington, DC...

Sunday, September 2, 2007

My best friend left and went to Heaven and my son went to college

My best friend--Fr. Bill C. Smith died a few nights ago (he's the priest in the photo at the right of the altar at my wedding). These past few months have been quite a long journey. I am privileged to have been so close to such a saintly man. God is so good to me. I have known dear Fr. Bill for almost thirty years and have learned so much from his holy life. I plan to write about him soon in upcoming posts, but for now I am weary. It has been a long week - watching Fr. Bill in his last days. When he barely had strength to continue living, he was concerned about giving us blessings - sometimes in Latin! The blessings in his last couple of days were given to us with a hand almost too weak to be lifted. His love for his friends and family will continue, no doubt from his eternal rest.

Today my son moved into his dorm at college. Driving to his university, these thoughts whirled round my brain - I feel like a mother bird pushing her baby out of the nest so that he will learn to fly...except I am having a hard time giving him that final shove. How did Joseph grow up so quickly? Whether I am ready or not to give that last push, the time is right now and time won't wait for me - I wiped my eyes and put on my sunglasses to hide my emotions...