Sunday, February 16, 2014

I Can Not “Embrace my Cross” and Why That’s Okay

Most of you know that we have five boys, three of which have a very rare genetic disorder. (See CaringBridge link at the bottom of the page for more info.) At this moment, I am spending the night with my youngest two (#TinyDictator the 8 month old and the #TwoYearOldKing) at a friend’s home near the Mayo Clinic. With a snow storm forecasted for the early morning, it was better than driving through it for two hours before the early appointments for them both.

As I sit here hoping #TwoYearOldKing will eventually settle down and sleep (but not daring to shut my eyes until he does), I ponder suffering. I realize it’s slightly outside the New Feminism topic per se, but within it in the sense that every man, woman and child suffers at some point in their life. Some more than others. And there is physical suffering, but there is also emotional and spiritual suffering, and I believe mothers feel those last two tremendously.

Within a few months recently, we went from the assumption that only one child had this disease to realizing that three of them had it. Knowing the pain and suffering my 7 year old has gone through, it broke my heart to know the potential disasters that would await the other two and all that came with it (for example, daily injections, for my baby?! How could I?!! But alas it is now a daily necessity).

So many people (well meaning and people I cherish as my dearest friends) told me that ‘it’s all going to be okay because God never gives us more than we can handle’ or ‘you’re a great mom; you can handle this’ or ‘you are an amazing woman; you will get through this.’ My internal response was always ‘no, I won’t and I can’t, but God can, so I’ll lean on Him.’

The more I’ve been reading “Abandonment to Divine Providence” it is as if my eyes have been open to a deeper layer of reality. Another veil has been removed and I find myself feeling so silly for the way I saw things before (and probably a step behind all of you!). The book explained the reality of God being in every moment of your life, especially the ones that are most mundane and simple. God is there; and if we look with the eyes of faith we can see Him and know His will. Yet, faith is a gift and each of us is on her (or his) own journey. In the past few days, God has given me new eyes of faith.

I couldn’t embrace the suffering of my children. I still can’t. Everything about the sickness is contrary to joy, love and life. And I have been having such a hard time grappling with the pain of my broken heart and trying to understand God’s will and then – I saw it. As simple as can be.

God is in each moment, in each person, in each situation we encounter – it’s not the the suffering of my children or my broken mother’s heart that I need to embrace, but it is GOD in the suffering that I embrace and love. I can surely do that! I do not have to be submitting myself to sickness or distress, but to the most merciful Father in that sickness, present in that distress. Lightbulb! When Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta would say “When I serve the poor, I am serving Christ in them”, that wasn’t just a nice theological statement! She must have really meant it. Mindblow.

And sometimes it does feel like we are taught to just suck it up and get it done, as if we can simply will ourselves to feel a certain way or force ourselves to accept the suffering of this life as God’s will and that’s just that. Life is tough, deal with it. (Or even by sheer will obtain holiness...) But that’s not our loving Father. He is present in those moments to help us, carry us, heal us, bring us joy.

So, no, I cannot embrace my cross, but I can throw my arms around my Savior who hangs on it for me and with me – burying my head in his chest, as his precious blood mingles with my own acting as a balm to the wound. Here, am I healed; here, do I find peace on the cross – here – held by my Savior and Lord.

... and the #TwoYearOldKing is finally asleep … adieu!


Friday, February 14, 2014

Laugh of the Week & Valentine's Day!

Just for laughs ...

We're at the store and passing down the baking aisle when my 8 year old says,
"Mom, Lott's wife has been here" and laughs.
I turn around and - sure enough - there was a pile of salt on the floor.
Gotta love Catholic kids!

Valentine's Day!

1st - Remember to post your response to #WhatWomenNeed for Valentine's Day all over social media!

2nd -  what my sweet hubby made for me!

Can you believe the sweetness? He made it from scratch! Carved out the hearts out of wood and all the little holes and painted it - with the help of the munchkins of course! It holds my Keurig coffee cups! LOVE MY SWEETIE!!

Finally, take a HIKE over to our Friends at The Guiding Star Project to check out a Valentine's blog post by Yours Truly!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Breakdown and the Recovery

Who hasn’t had the day where everything feels like it’s crashing in on you? It seems nothing goes right and the more you try to do, the less actually gets accomplished. Sometimes I think this is a very feminine reality. Not that men don’t have bad days, but women might feel it more deeply. Or perhaps it’s the deep emotions that we feel that can allow us to get overwhelmed. We try to manage family, children, church activities, social groups, our job and then we feel awful when something doesn’t go right.

My dad used to describe my mother as a juggler. She just could keep throwing those balls up in the air and as long as there was a rhythm to it all, it just kept going. Yet, if we are juggling and get pushed to the side, everything falls.  

Some women would argue that this is why life was better “in the old days” when women knew what was expected of them. They took care of the children and the home and that was that. Now, we enjoy doing all kinds of things! I’d go crazy if I couldn’t do all other things, but I absolutely love being a wife and mother too.

The temptation – at least for me – is to expect that as I perform the juggling feat in my own life, that if I stumble at all or drop a ball, I’m a failure. That feeling of failing even if it is just in one area then casts a shadow over every other thing I’m doing. I’m tempted to doubt myself, doubt my ability. If I make a mistake at work or don’t get back to a friend with what I had promised to do, my motherhood, my womanhood itself seems shaken.

I was reading “Abandonment to Divine Providence” this morning. One of the main points so far is that God is present in everything we are doing. No matter how mundane or ordinary, He is there – and we can see His presence if we but look for it! And what’s more, as long as we are doing His will, then we can find peace in our hearts.

My take away? Be at peace! Don’t try to do it ALL. Just do all that you want (or feel called?) to do. Some things we can’t help, because they are part of the vocation we chose. For mothers, taking care of messes, even changing diapers is part of motherhood and so God is there - and when we care for our children, we can be at peace. For women who work (whether mothers or single), you can find God there too. You can align yourself to His will in your life wherever you are! And when you do, when you give it over to God, then mistakes may happen but we can be at peace that He is taking care of us.

Seriously, you are wonderful! You are doing an amazing job! Our emotions can guide us to a deep love but they can also confuse us and knock us over. When we adhere to God, the shadows become light. In Isaiah chapters 52 and 58, he says God is our “rear guard” and God will "guard us from behind." In other words, be at peace, God’s got your back. ;-)


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Getting a little Personal, Anniversaries & Spreading the New Feminism Love

Hey there, beautiful! Notice anything different around here? (Besides the fact that I’m actually writing a post! Ha!) We did a little beautifying and personalizing of the blog. Nothing creates procrastination faster during a busy time in your life than the pressure to meet a super high expectation you set for yourself.

With that in mind, we’re re-working things here. :-) We’re going to get a little personal. I’ll be writing more frequently, but shorter, reflective posts rather than the pressure of a spectacular post that will cover all audiences of all ranges.

So, what will you be getting? Well, a whole lotta entertaining, (hopefully) thought provoking, real life new feminism. Because let’s face it – this is new feminism: juggling faith with personal life (for me, married, with 5 sons, 3 have special needs), with career with the need to connect with other women with the desire to make a difference for others and to, you know, bring about world peace and stuff. ;-)

Yes, we’ll still have guest bloggers from time to time (and please forgive me, sweet dear friends, who so kindly wrote something and I have not yet found the time and place for it!! I do try to use everything that is sent to me – because every voice is important, we are all worthy of respect and dignity). We embrace all voices exactly because New Feminism is all about raising the dignity and value of all that is womanly and feminine! (So, please keep sending me your posts and thoughts! This is OUR conversation…)

Did you know that we are coming up to the 2nd Anniversary of this blog?! And over the course of two years the blog has been viewed 47,038 times as of 2/11/14 (edit: my friend said it's important to point out that this has been a 1-2 times/ month post blog :-) - so not daily posts). And 2,168 of those were in the last month (when we didn't even have a post). We are an internationally viewed blog! Women all over the globe are looking for New Feminism! All time hit stats of Top Ten countries with the highest hits:
US – 26,550
Ukraine – 5,108
China – 2,649
United Kingdom – 1,365
Canada – 1,223
Germany – 924
Australia – 660
France – 436
Russia – 349
Poland – 240

Finding the right place for women in society and doing so with and through her beautiful femininity and feminine genius (and not over its destruction) is on the heart of so many throughout the globe!

So, congratulations and happy anniversary to all of our readers and new feminists! I look forward to many more years of blogging and hearing back from you!

Also, did you know that this month is the 1st anniversary of my book launch?! Happy Anniversary to Woman How Great Thou Art! If you haven’t read it yet, see the link to the right!

If you want to know why I’ve been so distracted lately, you can read our CaringBridge site (see the link at the bottom of this page).

Thank you for reading and hanging in there with me! As you can see also, we are working on new items on the site (like how to book me to speak in your town/ parish/ diocese – so exciting!). My heart is full – I feel like I’ve gotten emotionally body-slammed lately, but the future is bright and beautiful!

Yours truly,

ps - as always, I love to hear your thoughts! Share your comments below! xoxo, Theresa 

In response to a video by Planned Parenthood stating #WhatWomenNeed on Valentine's Day is more contraception and abortion, "Women Speak For Themselves" ( is launching a counter bombardment of posts! Check my twitter feed to the right to connect to the New Feminism response!