Facing Breast Cancer Like a Man

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“Hmmm… ” Slow intake of breath. “That’s right… It’s your dad who had the breast cancer…” recognition dawning as he squints at the data on the computer screen.

A solemn nod from me.

“Two separate occurrences?” he asks, though it’s more of a statement as he already knows the answer which is spelled out in clear Helvetica 10-point on the monitor before his spectacled eyes.

“Yes.”

We share a moment of deliberate eye contact. I look away first. He turns back to the digital records with renewed concentration.

No one enjoys flummoxing their doctor, unless it’s some singular distinction of good health, like having perfect cholesterol levels, or never having taken an antibiotic in one’s entire life. I can claim neither.

Continue reading “Facing Breast Cancer Like a Man”

Beloved Children

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Bear with me. I’m about to brag about my kids. Proud mama alert! Go ahead. Look away and grumble, but there’s no putting this exuberant lioness back in her cage.

And I’m not embarrassed to admit that you will probably be quite underwhelmed by the source of all this maternal delight. It’s neither a virtuoso violin performance nor a  prize-winning science project. In fact, none of my kids even plays an instrument, (excluding kazoo) or cares a whole lot about making scientific breakthroughs. (Sadly, there’s no fighting genetics.) I am fully aware the rest of the world will consider the source of my pride as something banal and utterly unexceptional.

Nonetheless, it causes me to light up like a roman candle in a cloudless, dark country sky.

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Filth & Faith: How My Husband and I are Talking to Our Kids About the Problems in Our Church

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Is it just me or have you noticed how every single reading from Mass over the last couple weeks seems to point to all of the unrest and scandal in the church of late? Not in that oblique, beating around the bush kind of way, but overtly, and in a way that seems to strike you to the core. It’s kind of how I remember feeling after a romantic heartbreak. No matter what station I tuned the radio dial to, I’d hear a song that eerily seemed to be speaking directly to me. But this a lot different. It’s not the voice of Tears for Fears. It’s God who is knocking on our collective foreheads, trying to break through so we might truly hear Him in the midst of such devastation.

Continue reading “Filth & Faith: How My Husband and I are Talking to Our Kids About the Problems in Our Church”

Ora Pro Nobis: \ō-rä-prō-ˈnō-bēs\ a Latin invocation meaning pray for us

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My kids are learning Latin in school. That puts a big smile on my face. Not simply because they are being trained in a language inextricably linked with the rich history of our Catholic faith, but because it offers poetic justice in my own much-less storied narrative. My dad, Jerry, was a Latin teacher at an all-boys Catholic high school for a number of years, until Latin decidedly went out of vogue, somewhere in the late 70’s to 80’s. Not one to be swayed by passing trends, he still valued the importance of the sacred, historic language and when the time came for me to choose an elective in the 9th grade, he wisely counseled me to pick Latin. I gave it a cursory thought and smugly replied, “It’s a dead language, Dad! I’m taking French.” Not ready to concede defeat, my father asserted that while Latin was dead it would provide me a great springboard for learning any of the Romance languages, including French. And since English used so many words with Latin origins, it would most likely increase my vocabulary and reading comprehension. That’s the gist of what he said. What I heard was, “blah-blah-blah-blah-Latin, boring Latin…” In my teenage mind, I wanted to take French because it seemed romantic and exciting and honestly it just sounded so dang pretty. Continue reading “Ora Pro Nobis: \ō-rä-prō-ˈnō-bēs\ a Latin invocation meaning pray for us”