Saturday, October 30, 2010

Warning: This may break your heart

...and maybe your life.  It's the subject of porn.  I've written and linked about it here before.  This is a subject that seriously impacts women, men and families, so I'm taking time to share a few more thoughts and resources on the subject.  Please don't blow this off. The links below deserve your attention.

My first experience with porn came as a child, when neighborhood boys showed me their stash of Playboy magazines in an old garage. I don't think I was older than 8 years old. Neither were they, sadly.  You may think porn was all harmless back then, right?  Then ask me why the incident is still burned into my brain.  Most children can recall their first initiation with porn. I wonder what my father would have done had he knew?  I never told him or my mother about it. Had I done so, maybe those boys' parents would have done something right by them.

Today, the scourge of porn continues its quiet take down of American society. With so many other things you have to worry about today, do you really need to address this as well?  Yes. You do. We all do.  We cannot become de-sensitized in thinking this is no big deal.

Porn erodes modesty, denigrates respect between men and women, lowers the dignity and value of human person to a utilitarian object, and steals time and trust between spouses, friends, parents and children. And that's just the beginning.  

A porn addiction can lead to sexual assault, arrest, loss of income or employment, other additions, violence, murder, or suicide.

Through the years, as a former youth minister, and later as a mother, I've dealt with porn surfacing in the lives of the teens I know and love. And some of that was back before the internet was in so many homes and linked via our smart phones.  Really, don't get me started: my own children have lived on college campuses where internet porn is rampant in dorms, despite firewall protections against it.

Parents: software that blocks porn is good, but nothing is perfect. You must check your family's computer histories to verify what sites your children and teens are visiting. Like the old saying goes: "Trust, but verify."

Vigilance. Concern. Love. Call it what you will. We must put a hedge of protection around our vulnerable youngsters, while at the same time, appropriately acquainting our older children with the dangers.

Here is some important reading:

"The Weight of Smut" by Mary Eberstadt  (Must reading!)

Is Pornography Addictive? On Wed MD. - Catholic support for recovery from porn.

Breaking Free Blog, from Covenant Eyes - help for internet integrity and keeping away from porn, plus porn recovery tools.

Here's a CNN video interview with a sociologist from Wheelock College, Gail Dines about "Has Porn Has Hijacked Sexuality". Dines is author of a book, Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality.

Warning: Mature subject matter, viewer discretion advised!

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Common Good and Pope St. Clement's Prayer for Political Leaders

Election Day in the United States is almost upon us.

Embracing the Catechism continues over at the "NEW" Catholic Exchange with a brief review of the social doctrine of the common good, and an ancient prayer for political authorities from the fourth pope, Pope St. Clement of Rome.  

The Fun Quotient: Just some stuff that makes me smile...

On the art of moodling...

Oh! the glories of duct tape... 

Random knowledge, or perhaps somehow useful information...

And, before you get to the videos below,  I just love this brave, yet hilarious and excellently written post from Betty Beguiles...  (and don't miss her embedded link to Jennifer Fulwiler's post about the poop-fates.) It's a two-fer fer sure!  (Now, if this afforded you a chuckle, consider being a friend to someone in need and donate to the Beguiles' new couch fund.)

Here's what I need: Menopause parking!

Sometimes the old jokes that are embedded in your brain from your youth deserve a replay...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

God Outside the Box

Find my Thursday post over at the Catholic portal at Patheos, Summa This, Summa That God Outside the Box.

Here's a snippet:

Her conversation went something like this… “So-and-so is writing a book about her search for the meaning of life.  Her story line is, that having left her Catholic faith as a teen, she took the ‘best of’ from all the various religious practices she could find. Then she designed her own spirituality.” 
And so it goes.  Maybe you’ve encountered a similar situation in your own life, or with a loved one. There’s always a slightly different version of the same thing.
 A person takes their little God Box and fills it up with whatever suits them, inspires them, comforts or loves them.  Mix well and season to taste. Over time, they may dabble, or become connoisseurs of a kind of spiritualism, adding to or subtracting from the God Box according to their own improved recipe of personal relevancy. 
Read the rest here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pro-Life Month- Part 4 of 4: Resources

For women with an unplanned pregnancy:
The Nurturing Network
In Northeastern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire: Pregnancy Care Centers

For Post-Abortive women:
Rachel's Vineyard -- for retreats, Q&A, counseling, and more...
Silent No More -- post-abortive women who regret their choices take their message to the world.

For voters:
Oct 27: Priests for Life webcast about the coming election: Tonight at 9pm EST!
National Right to Life Political Action Committee 

Comprehensive information on respect life issues:
Priests for Life
Human Life International

One woman's perspective:

This is a talk and some articles given by former-atheist-now-Catholic Jennifer Fulwiler of Conversion Diary.

One woman's perspective, take 2:

This is Lila Rose's discussion of the work of Live Action, her org that, among other things, exposes Planned Parenthood's tactics in subterfuge.

image credit 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Among Women Podcast #76: Raising Saints for the Church

Among Women 76 talks about "Raising Saints for the Church" from two angles.  First, in "Blessed are They", our usual saint segment, we take a brief look at the bios of the 6 new saints recently canonized by Pope Benedict on October 17.  Then, in our "Among Women" segment, I visit with a Catholic blogger and photographer who is also a homeschooling mom: Laura Lee Richard from Our House of Joyful Noise.  Together we discuss laying the faith foundations in the home in order to raise children with a sense of vocation.

This program is filled with personal faith sharing and ideas that you may wish to utilize in your own family.  Don't miss this episode!

Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem delivers 50,000 baby! Meet 8-day old Aisha...

In a follow-up to what was reported earlier, Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem, (yes, the Bethlehem where Jesus was born), has delivered its 50,000 baby.  Yes, I'm a bit behind in posting about this, but happy to have little Aisha's picture to post.

Monday, October 25, 2010

"I See His Blood upon the Rose"

I See His Blood upon the Rose
by Joseph Mary Plunkett
I see His blood upon the rose 
   And in the stars the glory of His eyes,
His Body gleams amid eternal snows,
   His tears fall from the skies.

I see His face in every flower;
   The thunder and the singing of the birds
Are but His voice -- and carven by His power
   Rocks are His written words.

All pathways by His feet are worn,
   His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,
   His Cross is every tree.

image credit

This makes me think...

Thomas Morgan writes:
Karl Menninger believed that the experience of not being listened to made people unwell, and the experience of being listened to made them well again.  The experience of being loved through listening made them whole again... Listening is the heart of ministry.
When we listen, we affirm and empower the other. Our listening is a gift to the other.  When we don't listen, we fail to hear the Spirit being revealed through others, and we impede the development of life in [others]...

Douglas Steere states: "To 'listen' another's soul into a condition of disclosure and discovery may be almost the greatest service that any human being ever performs for another."

---Building Community: Christian, Caring, Vital by Loughlan Sofield, Rosine Hammett, Carroll Juliano

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Greatest Gift God has given me in this life...

that has, time and again, demonstrably shown me without a doubt that God loves me, has been my husband Bob.

Today we celebrate 28 years of Marriage. 
Amen to that!

Here he is, with "Old Ironsides", the USS Constitution in Boston.

And here we are in Rome, after renewing our wedding vows
for our Silver Anniversary in 2007!
(Frequent flier miles strike again!)

Of course, there have been other gifts
that have come along the way as well...
just to name a few...

One Incredible Son, now launched... 
and living and working in NYC!

One Amazing Daughter still in college...

And One Awesome Son...
Now finishing high school...

And One Wife's Master's Degree...

And one crazy blue-eyed pooch...
Just gratuitously thrown in for cuteness sake...

And a million and one memories!
I love you Bob!

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Fun Quotient: Anniversary Edition

This weekend, Bob and I celebrate 28 years of wedded bliss... good thing we have a sense of humor.  Or rather, he has the sense of humor ...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Need Hope? Me too.

I'm over at Summa This, Summa That today, making sense out the gift of hope found in my garden and in my life.  Here's a snippet:

Last week, a curious thing grew outside amidst the fresh frost of my New England October.  A single, perfectly formed pink rose bud appeared on one of my bushes –an unlikely occurrence in the garden as everything else dies back.

Not wanting to miss the promise of unfolding beauty to come, I found my clippers and promptly cut the single stem rose.
The rose, now in a bud vase, graced my workspace all week… it’s beauty and fragrance delighting and refreshing me. And I’ve really needed that. For, lately, I’ve suffered a few personal setbacks to my health and my work.  That does not make me unique; we all have times of trial and discouragement. But it does proves to me that, in God’s economy, our hearts can respond to the even the smallest spark, enkindling tangible hope as we grope and struggle with confusion or challenges.
More real than the beauty of a rose bloom in the chill of autumn, the action of grace often lies just beneath the surface of what is usually distracting us at the moment.  But to see it, we must call upon the promises of our baptism, an event long past for many of us, that carries ramifications for our present day.
Read the rest here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A mini-memoir piece from my breast cancer experience

Looking back with gratitude to a dear friend's holy influence on my life...

Pro-Life Month- Part 3 of 4: Videos worth sharing

A most beautiful music video about spiritual and psychological healing that is possible following an abortion:  The song is called "Sometimes I Wonder" by Emily Holman. It's posted here on Facebook by Rachel's Vineyard Ministries.  If this moves you, send a donation to Rachel's Vineyard, and share the video on your Facebook page too.  This deserves greater exposure.

Here's a few more...

OK, it's a TV commercial... but very effective...

Blogger Matt Warner of Fallible Blogma and the National Catholic Register made this video earlier this year, read his post about it:

And some of the best respect life messages out there never mention the words "pro-life" or "choice" or "abortion":

Babies is now available on DVD.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

We interrupt this podcast for, um, real life...

Dear Among Women listeners,

Life in the Gohn home interrupts my ability to upload a podcast this week!  It's all good reasons, nothing to worry about, but I'm just gonna have to take a short break this week.  May God bless you till next week!

Need an AW fix?  Check out our index of archived subject matter.

We'll talk soon!

Monday, October 18, 2010

This makes me think...

As the world's first teachers of self-sacrifice and compassion, women are the foremost shapers of culture.  In [Pope] John Paul's view, then, women stand as a vital force for guarding against the modern tendencies toward the love of self, of money, and of pleasure.  Women wield this transformative power first and foremost in their own homes, by modeling, teaching, and nurturing their children in the ways of love and service.  But their influence is much broader in scope.  Through their professional work as well as their involvement and leadership in civic organizations, they hold the power to attest to and defend the very dignity of the human person. By their lives and the personal and professional choices they make, they can reveal to the world the way of attentive, humanizing, self-giving love...

But women can only achieve this tranformative influence in society if they recognize their own dignity and value as beloved children of God...

If women are to lead the way in the a renewal of culture, they must go constantly to the true source of all healing, power, and strength: Christ himself.

---Erika Bachiochi, Women, Sex, and the Church: A case for Catholic teaching (Pauline Books and Media, 2010)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tomorrow: New Saints for the Church, including Blessed Andre Bissette and Blessed Mary McKillop

More about St. Joseph's Oratory.

Other saints being canonized on Oct. 17th too -- including Austrailia's first saint --
a woman who was a  religious sister:  Blessed Mary McKillop!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Yet another great reason to read the Catechism...

"Of Saints and Sound Bites", by yours truly, over at the new Catholic Exchange!

The Fun Quotient: The Lord of the Dance

I had the pleasure of seeing that show performed in Boston several years ago and it is a joy to remember it here.

Do you remember the words for the original Celtic song "The Lord of the Dance"?  Here they are! (They are all about the Lord Jesus Christ.)

Don't miss Steven Curtis Chapman's take on the The Lord of the Dance.

And finally, because, this is about fun too, this is what I'd call the "Dog of the dance"--  Kudos to the trainer of this very talented dancing golden retriever.

Now go hum a tune, and add some lightness to your step!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Over at Patheos today, I'm talking the miners rescue and our own!

I'm over at Summa This, Summa That drawing parallels between the wonderful rescue of the Chilean miners, and our own epic rescue.

Here's a snippet:

The distance from confinement to freedom was a twenty-minute half-mile ride in a claustrophobic rescue pod. 
Sometime after midnight on Wednesday October 13, 2010, the world began to watch in sheer joy, and perhaps sober disbelief, as the first of 33 Chilean miners, trapped for 68-69 days in their dark, womblike cavern of life, emerged.  Weeks of international effort and cooperation worked to set them free from the bowels of a collapsed mine after their record-breaking stay underground.
US media outlets called this rescue operation a miracle in its size and scope.
For those of us Catholics who are Marian-devoted, and who pay attention to things nuanced by the rhythm of the liturgical calendar, we smile in humble recognition of the date.
It is indeed a day for miracles.  

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Amazing Catechists and Me

I'm happy to announce that my role at Amazing Catechists has expanded from being a speaker and supporter of the ministry, to adding a column there about, (what else?) the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

If you are a catechist, you'll find other inspiring columns at AC to beef up your ministry, so bookmark it today!

Hats off to Lisa Mladinich, the founder of Amazing Catechists, and author of "Be An Amazing Catechist" from Our Sunday Visitor.  I highly recommend Lisa's book for newbie catechists, and those currently serving in ministry as catechists for children and youth.

Note to DRE's: be forewarned, :-),  if you buy one, you'll buy a carton for all your catechists.

Pro-Life Month- Part 2 of 4: 50K Births in Bethlehem

Well, almost 50 thousand births!  Holy Family Hospital, located in Bethlehem -- yes, the same Bethlehem in Israel where Mary gave birth to Jesus -- is close to reaching its 50,000th birth in their amazing hospital. See the birth counter here.  Check out their video here.

It's Director General, Dr. Jacques Keutgen, writes:

Located in the Holy Land and open to all, independently of their region, race or financial means, we continue to assure a Christian attendance in the town where the Virgin Mary gave birth to Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our devotion has earned the respect of all communities in Palestine.
Due to our excellent reputation and our respect for other’s dignity and religion, our share of all deliveries in the district of Bethlehem has increased from 37.3% to 59.5% in the last two years.”
Want to give a pro-life donation to a worthwhile organization during this pro-life month?  Make a donation here.

Unrelated to the above, but worth a read: a GEM of a article from Jennifer Fulwiler.

Fatima: Miracle of the Sun, this date is history

I would like finally to mention another key expression of the
“secret” which has become justly famous: “my Immaculate 
Heart will triumph”. What does this mean? The Heart open to
God, purified by contemplation of God, is stronger than guns
and weapons of every kind. The fiat of Mary, the word of her 
heart, has changed the history of the world, because it brought 
the Saviour into the world—because, thanks to her Yes, God 
could become man in our world and remains so for all time. 
The Evil One has power in this world, as we see and experience
continually; he has power because our freedom continually lets
itself be led away from God. But since God himself took a human 
heart and has thus steered human freedom towards what is good, 
the freedom to choose evil no longer has the last word. From that 
time forth, the word that prevails is this: “In the world you will
have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world” 
(Jn 16:33). The message of Fatima invites us to trust in this promise. 
Joseph Card. Ratzinger
Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

---From the Vatican's theological commentary on the Message of Fatima, (2000).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Among Women Podcast #75: Healing the Hurt of Abortion

Among Women 75 spotlights the amazing healing ministry of Rachel's Vineyard that tends to the hearts and souls of women, men, and families affected by the grief, trauma, and soul-tearing realities of abortion.

Join us for an informative and compassionate "Among Women" conversation with wife and mother Dr. Theresa Burke, the founder of Rachel's Vineyard, and a counselor, psychologist, author, and international expert on post-abortion trauma and treatment. Together we explore the healing process of a Rachel's Vineyard retreat.

To find Rachel's Vineyard, go to or call toll-free at 877-HOPE-4-ME.  To donate to this ministry, go here.

This week's "Blessed Are They" segment talks about our champion for persistent prayer, the widow in the parable of Luke 18: 1-8, found in this week's Sunday Gospel.

Go see a moving song and video on Rachel Vineyard's Facebook page.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Looky Looky! Catholic Exchange's new & improved portal is up!

Yours truly is now writing for "Grow"

Find me here.

This makes me think...

MARY is a model of all virtues who is more within our reach.

When we contemplate her, we do not feel overwhelmed by the splendor of the Divinity. On the contrary, we are attracted by the kinship of a common nature and strive more confidently to imitate her.

---Pope Leo XIII, (1878-1903).

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Some have entertained angels...

I'm over at Faith and Family Live today...
talking it up about angels!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A post-script on Breast Cancer Awareness

Many of you know that I'm a breast cancer survivor-thriver.  (Life is really good, thank God, and it is no longer a big deal unless you're one of my doctors... then its a big deal if I even show up at the hospital with a hangnail.) 

I met one of the bloggers I admire, Dr. Gerard Nadal, last June at this event for LI Catholic Writers.  We hit it off from the moment we both learned we are SJU alumni. (Go Redmen Red Storm!)  "Gerry" and I were delighted to share a wonderful dinner with the conference team at a local diner (what's not to love, LI?) before we all parted company.

Let me just say, folks, that we need more great scientists with proper Catholic formation, like Dr. Nadal. (Let's face it: we need great Catholics, really, in every profession, but I digress.)

Add his blog to your blogroll if you have one. (He tweets too.) This man is doing great work in the service of life.

Here is his most recent post on "Breast Cancer, Science, Medicine, Prophets, and Hope" that I invite you to read regarding breast cancer stats that he reprinted from a fellow scholar's presentation:

It is often said by cancer organizations that 70% of women with breast cancer have no identifiable risk factors and that we should give them money to find a cure. It is simply untrue that 70% of all breast cancer patients have no identifiable risk factors. If 75% of women of reproductive age have taken oral contraceptives they are at increased risk. If 20% of the women in this country remain childless, they are at increased risk. If 50% of post menopausal women have taken hormone replacement therapy, they are at increased risk.

Let’s be more more than “aware” in Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You’d have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to be aware that breast cancer exists and is a threat to many women. It’s on the TV news and cable channels, radio, the internet, magazines, newspapers, and even the shopping channel as a patient once told me. You can‟t even go to the grocery store in October without being faced with pink ribbons on food containers to benefit one organization or another.

Let’s be proactive and not just aware. Let’s be pro active make and women aware that breast cancer is curable in many cases if not in at least half those diagnosed with screening mammograms.

We already know lots about what causes breast cancer and what can increase a woman’s risk. Breast cancer is not the fickle finger of fate randomly pointed at women. There are many other avoidable risks. We can hope and expect to reduce breast cancer rates with prevention.
In short, there is much more, so run along now and read the whole thing. At the end of that post, you'll find some worthy, scholarly research institutes to support with your hard-earned cash. Go do it. Please. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Fun Quotient: Food, glorious food

OK, girlfriends, I am now going to share with you my most favorite comedic talent that brings me great relief in my midlife hormonal zone... Been following her for years, and now I'm sharing her with you: Anita Renfroe(And of course, it's all about food!) Please make sure you see videos #1 about Oreo's and #4 about coffee ("It's like my own little cheerleader in a cup")... (sorry I can't embed 'em, but go see 'em and then come back here for more!)

I love this one too:

For the  love of watermelon...

For the love of corn?

For the love of chocolate...  Don't miss the love letters:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

This moves me to pray... (thanks, I needed that!)

Thanks to Leticia Velasquez for first posting this over at Causa Nostrae Laetitiae.  Sorry to be a copycat-but this is too good not too miss!

Summa This Summa That: Bodacious and Fantastic

One of the joys of theology for me is looking back at some of the great saints and theologians of Christian history who populate our Tradition.  
Today's post over at Summa This Summa That captures some of the quotes that really grab me when it comes to the bodacious and fantastic news that we are sharers in the divine nature. 
Here's a snippet:
Singer Joan Osbourne had a hit single titled “One of Us.” It questioned:  “What if God was one of us?”
This is the cry of many human hearts today and, yet…
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into the world taking on the visage and form of a human person. It was and is the greatest plan to ever win over a single heart to God, and an even more magnificent strategy for the salvation of the world.
Go find the rest here

Feast Day: Our Lady of the Rosary- a video of processions at Fatima

To hear about my pilgrimage to Fatima with my friend, Jane Richard, go back to the archives of Among Women and listen to Episode 7.

Wonderful resource to pray the rosary: Come, Pray the Rosary!
HT to my pal Leticia Velasquez over at Cause of our Joy!

Ave Maria!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pro-Life Month- Part 1 of 4: The lingering effects of abortion

If you're a woman, you can't escape dealing with life issues.  As the human life-bearers in this world, we women have an implicit responsibility to tend to life in all stages of development. Moreover, we must tend kindly and gently with one another, especially with others who may not share this view of their femininity and the role of motherhood.

For me, as a Catholic, two ideas convince me of the undeniable reality of the dignity of the human person from the womb to the tomb.  First, the gift of the Incarnation -- the Lord God taking on human flesh as evidenced in the Christmas story -- elevates the dignity of the human person like no other fact. Save for this second truth that was revealed in the Creation account, that human persons have been created in the "image" and "likeness" of God (Gen. 1:26).

And so, over the course of the next few weeks, I'll be posting links to thoughts and ideas on this pro-life theme. And, of course, the Among Women  podcast will be doing the same.

For starters:

1. Powerful article (almost painful to read) at the Witherspoon Institute's online journal Public Discourse: Ethics, Law, and the Common Good on the sufferings of post-abortive women: Women, Abortion and the Brain 
2. And here's Human Life International's short video on abortion's effects on men.
3. Why Life is Good is a t-shirt company I make regular purchases from. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Among Women Podcast #74: The Dignity of the Human Person

Among Women 74 opens up the Marian month of October, which is also "Respect Life" month... with some thoughts on the Incarnation and the dignity of the human person.  This has been the subject of some of my past teaching at local parishes and with this article published recently at

We'll also look at the life of this week's new Blessed: Anna Maria Adorni, who was both a wife and mother and a mother and foundress to a religious order.

Our guest for our "Among Women" conversation is the youthful and articulate Jessica Schachle who, at the age of 17, shares her faith and a call to live a pro-life lifestyle.  Listen to the podcast here or fine AW 74 over at

Here's a special assignment for an upcoming AW special on prayer: Please submit your comments on "What prayer means to you?" via our feedback line at 206-338-6077 (to be used in a future show later this month), or email them to me at  Do it today! Thanks!

If you like what we do here each week at Among Women, please consider leaving a favorable review on our page at iTunes

image credit

Monday, October 4, 2010

This makes me think... (on the feast of St. Francis)

"What wonderful majesty!
What stupendous condescension!
O sublime humility!
That the Lord of the whole universe,
God and the Son of God,
should humble Himself like this
under the form of a little bread,
for our salvation"

"...In this world I cannot see
the Most High Son of God
with my own eyes, except
for His Most Holy Body and Blood."

St Francis of Assisi

Sunday, October 3, 2010

See this face? See this hope?

See this face?
See this hope?
I'm 14 years old.
No, really. I am.
I started counting every year since 
my recovery from breast cancer.

In 1996, I found a suspicious lump in my breast in May, exactly 5 months after a negative (normal) mammogram at age 35 told me I'm fine.  To say that I am the poster child (ok, Poster Mother) for Breast Self Exam (BSE) is an understatement.  

Had I not done BSE, and found this lump on my own, I might not be here to write to you today.  My next mammogram was not scheduled until age 40-- 5 years from when I had my first mammo.  

At first, my doctor thought I had a breast infection. I told him, no, there's a discreet lump.  He treated me with anti-biotics until I asked for biopsy.  Even on the day of the biopsy he told me -- you're fine -- very healthy breast tissue in that sample.  Until he got the results. Then he could do nothing but apologize. He just figured I was too young to have breast cancer.  Another doctor got better informed after I left his care and never looked back. I went to Mass General and am forever grateful for the amazing care I have consistently received for 14 years. If you ever get diagnosed with this disease, choose a hospital that approaches the disease from a multi-disciplinary approach. I have no other advice beyond that, and prayer and the sacraments, of course. 

I really "get" the "More Birthdays" campaign that the American Cancer Society is using to promote awareness during October, which just happens to be Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

For me, its a pretty powerful month because it is also the same as Respect Life Month. Think that's a coincidence?  For me, I call that kind of thing a God-incidence.

Another God incidence is my being here, as I've said.  It's no accident that I got to see my 40th, and yes, my 50th chronological birthdays. I have friends who have dreaded turning 40 or 50.  Not me. This October, I'm also celebrating 28 years of marriage... and celebrating my family too. I've had enough birthdays to have had the privilege of sticking around to raising of three wonderful children... now 23, 20, and 17.

See this nice lady with me?
This is my Mom.
When I was diagnosed at age 36, she told me she wished it had been her instead. (Only a mother might say that, y'know?)  Anyway, I told her, "Don't say that, Ma..."  She came and stayed with me for a long time to help my husband and my children (then 9, 6, and 3) deal with my recovery from my third surgery, which was the biggest one.  I was laid up for a few weeks. And still, I consider myself fortunate to have one of those early-stage varieties of bc. 

Eventually, 6 years after my recovery, Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001, and again in 2007, and yes, sadly, with a more advanced form in late 2009.  Mom got great treatment each time.  She's what you call fightin' Irish -- her Mom had a different kind of throat cancer that robbed her vocal cords... people say I look a lot like her mother.  Every time I get a throat affliction I think of her... wondering.  FYI, Gramma did not die from her cancer... she survived for years after. A heart attack took her life long after cancer was a bad memory. 

I'm here to tell you that many people like me, and Mom, and my grandmother, do a lot of living after a cancer diagnosis.  We live with it, kind of like a chronic disease.  

There is so much hope out there. If you, or someone you know has been diagnosed with breast cancer, or any other kind, get information and get into treatment. Nobody knows how long life is... and I'm not being morbid here, it's just the truth. Hang out with enough cancer patients like I have, and you learn the humor: we're all terminal!  Yeah, its a joke, but only kinda.  Thank God for God. :)

For years since my recovery, I've been raising money by walking for "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer".  
Watch this video. It's shot in Boston where I've walked.
This year, I'm only raising money.  
Seems I'll be having surgery soon to repair 
a torn tendon in my ankle, so I won't be walking 
with the throng this weekend in Boston.  Oh poo!

And next year, you watch for me out there, Boston.
I'm coming back. 
make sure you schedule an annual mammogram.
 'Nuff said. 
Just remember to do it 
because I love you.
So do lots of folks.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Lisa Hendey comes to Boston & I'm happy to tag along!

Lisa Hendey, my longtime friend and editor at, fellow SQPN podcaster at Catholic Moments, and author of The Catholic Mom Handbook, is coming to the Boston area in two weeks! 

Naturally, I can't keep that good news all to my self, so here are the details:

Sunday, October 17 – “Meet and Greet” with Lisa Hendey (and me!) at John Harvard’s in Cambridge – 2:30 – 4:30 pm.  Join us for a “no host” gathering with Boston area friends.  Come for as long as your schedule permits. 

If you haven't gone to Mass that day, join us in attending the 5:00 pm Mass that evening at St. Paul Parish in Cambridge... a short walkable distance from the pub.

Monday, October 18 – St. Paul Parish, Wellesley – Join Lisa Hendey and musical guest Susan Bailey for a special evening sponsored by the St. Paul’s WINGS group.  The event begins at 7:00 pm and the charge is $10 per person.  WINGS is a women's ministry.
Event Details:
502 Washington Street   Wellesley, MA 02482
Get Google directions here.
For more information please contact: Kay Kociuba at 781-237-1243 or or Eva Russell at 508-620-7632 or
And if you've yet to pick up a copy of Lisa's book, you can get it right here.
(And if you bring it along, I'm sure she'll gladly sign your copy.  Yes, she really is very nice!)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Embracing the Catechism - An Open Letter to My Godson on His Confirmation

Here's a snippet:

Dear Thomas Patrick,

On the occasion of your Confirmation I wish to offer the sage and time-honored advice of a saint.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, teaching on the Sacrament of Confirmation, quotes St. Ambrose, a bishop and theologian from the 4th century. His words are worthy of repeating here. My prayer for you, as your Godmother and Sponsor, would be that your reception of this important sacrament would mirror the words of St. Ambrose:

Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear in God's presence.

Guard what you have received.

God the Father has marked you with his sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed his pledge, the Spirit, in your hearts.  

Find the rest here.

The Fun Quotient: For the John Williams' fans (& Star Wars fans too.)

Only a true music lover will appreciate the hours it took to complete this...

PS: The force is strong in this one...

The new Roman Missal (click & learn about the coming changes):

Watch Catholic TV here! Find Women's programs: "WINGs" and "Woman at the Heart of the Church"

A Lovely Reminder for Every Day

Coffee drinkers! Support AW by drinking Mystic Monk Coffee!

Ship a Cake, and Share a Blessing