Will You March With Me?


Today my daughter packed for her second trip to Washington, D.C., to participate in the 2015 March for Life. I pretended to help, even though she had it all under control. Banana chips? Rolos? Gluten free donuts? Check!

She, like her older sister, is blessed to be making her second trip to D.C. God willing, the rest of her younger brothers and sisters will follow suit in the years to come.

My heart is so proud of her. The trip will not be easy. A 14-16 hour bus ride is uncomfortable, to say the least. She will have a chance to tour the monuments and Holocaust museum, but the focus of her trip is the march itself.

I have been asked if she, at the young age of 13, has any idea what she is really marching for. With everything in me, YES she understands!

She is a young lady who has been taught at home and at school that life is a precious gift. Life that begins from the moment of conception and ends at a natural death.

She has seen ultrasounds of her younger brothers and sisters when they were growing inside me. Beautiful, complete babies that were too tiny to live outside my body quite yet.

She marches not with hatred and blame but with compassion and love. Many times abortion happens not because women need a choice, but because they feel hopeless and have no choice.

Will she grow to understand the complexity of abortion as she gets older? Absolutely. So many, by the grace of God or just plain dumb luck, never had to face an unexpected pregnancy. Even more of us may have unknowingly aborted babies while on the Pill or using an IUD. I look forward to many heart-to-heart discussions to come.

I am unable to march in person, so I will be there in spirit. I am praying a novena for life with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The sweet baby growing inside me reminds me to keep praying. Every cell of my body, every breath I breathe is a prayer for my daughter’s safety in D.C.

Will you join my daughter, with thousands upon thousands of others, and march for life?

March for Life 2014

7QT: Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche in St. Augustine, Florida

Can I rewind back to summer? I’m trying not to be crabby about the cold. Indulge me a little and let me relive our family vacation to St. Augustine, Florida!

Joining in at This Ain’t the Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes!



So, what’s a family of 11 with Grandma Cynti tagging along to do on vacation? Cheap, easy, and inspiring activities are at the top of our list!

We decided to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, and WOW are we glad we did. It was so peaceful, so beautiful.

Located in the old part of St. Augustine, it commemorates the site where the Spanish claimed the area for the Church and Spain in 1565. A rustic outdoor altar marks the spot Father López said the first mass, beginning the first mission in the Americas.


After enjoying the large *air-conditioned* gift shop (I could’ve browsed for hours), we ventured out into the muggy yet thankfully shaded grounds.

I loved the simple lines of this statue of St. Joseph!

st Augustine shrine - 40

Mike couldn’t help but take a selfie with St. Joseph, who understands his role as provider and protector of our family like no other. St. Joseph, keep praying for our family and especially Mike, who tries to make our crazy family imitate the Holy Family.

st Augustine shrine - 41


A peaceful little path with the Seven Sorrows of Mary and other little statues surrounded the chapel. Several old gravestones and an outdoor altar (at the spot the first mass was said) were also outside:


The chapel was beautiful! Above the altar was a statue of Our Lady of La Leche (Our Mother of the Milk). Of course, while we all stopped to pray, one of my babies had to nurse! I loved it, and it really impressed upon me how humble God made Himself to come to us as a helpless baby dependent on His mother for everything. Just like my babies, our Savior nursed from His mama and relied on her for a clean diaper and warm place to sleep.

st Augustine shrine - 36

While in the chapel, I prayed for several friends who are having trouble conceiving a child. I also thanked God for giving me my nine babies and plenty of milk!


The kids all had a picture taken with Jesus. Yes, Jesus IS in there somewhere!


Grandma Cynti snapped a family picture of us in front of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.


My husband captured this beautiful picture of the statue of Father López. The gigantic cross in the background was breathtaking.

st Augustine shrine - 23

The kids were hot and hungry, so after a quick look at the museum we headed back to the condo.

Novena Prayer to Our Lady of La Leche

Lovely Lady of La Leche, most loving Mother of Jesus, and my mother, listen to my humble prayer. Your motherly heart knows my every wish, my every need. To you only, his spotless Virgin Mother, has your Divine Son given to understand the sentiments which fill my soul. Yours was the sacred privilege of being the Mother of the Savior.

Intercede with him now, my loving mother, that in accordance with his will (mention your request here). This I ask, O Lady of La Leche, in the name of your Divine Son, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

V. O Mary, conceived without sin.
R. Pray for us who have recourse to you.

Our Lady of La Leche pray for us.

Small Success Thursday: Gimme That Jam!

Good morning! Linking up today with CatholicMom for Small Success Thursday. I love reading about other moms like me, overwhelmed with life but paused to count our little blessings for the week.

Of course, God has blessed me many times this week, so here goes~

1.  I realized the Magical Tree Fairy does not exist. She still hasn’t taken down our Christmas decorations, so apparently we will have to do that. I did buy a new tub for Christmas ornaments, but it’s shoved in the hall closet so the baby doesn’t get a head injury climbing in and out of it. Perhaps we will actually put ornaments into the storage tub.

2.  I’m getting some girlfriend time in not once, but twice this week! Yay!

3.  I bought the most delicious, heavenly cherry jam at a late night grocery shopping excursion. My addiction is unavoidable at this point. Just trying not to eat the whole jar in one day. Organic Cherry Fruit Spread, I think I love you.


I hereby declare this baby shall be named “Cherry Jam Scrambled Eggs” because that’s all I can eat without being grossed out.

4.  My husband and I have had the eye-opening experience (unfortunately) of witnessing several marriages going through really hard times. We have vowed to make sure we keep working at this crazy thing called marriage, praying for God to continue pouring His graces upon us. Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin, please pray for all marriages to be strong. Pray couples aren’t afraid to change or ask for help through the rough times.

5.  Mike and I laughed ourselves silly watching the new episodes of Parks and Recreation. We were overdue for some laughs.

6.  Since I didn’t make New Year’s Resolutions, I am right on track with that! Made my plan (not), and I’m stickin’ to it!

Have a blessed, amazing, restful, and hopefully warm week! God bless.

This Morning’s Sunrise


The Last Words of David—

The spirit of the LORD speaks through me, his word is upon my tongue.

The God of Israel has spoken, the Rock of Israel has said to me:

One who rules over people justly, ruling in the fear of God, is like the light of morning,

like the sun rising on a cloudless morning, gleaming from the rain on the grassy land.

Is not my house like this with God? For he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure.

Will he not cause to prosper all my help and my desire?

2 Samuel 23:2-5


I randomly flipped to this spot in my Bible this morning, and it totally fit in with the picture my daughter took of the beautiful sunrise!

A few random thoughts~

  • I (and my husband) are to rule over our house “justly, ruling in the fear of God” just like King David. I think we do a pretty good job of this, focusing our family around the great awesomeness of God.


  • How often is the spirit of the Lord speaking through me? Do the words that come off my tongue show what’s in my heart? I can be pretty darn crabby in the mornings, the complete opposite of the beautiful sunrise God blessed us with this morning.


  • I think God uses my kids to smack me upside the head to be a better person. When my daughter took the time to go outside in the freezing cold to snap pictures of the sunrise, she reminded me to stop and notice my blessings. Yes, I hate winter, but God still gave me a warm house, plenty of food, a beautiful sunrise, and a van full of kids to pray with on the way to school.


  • Praying God makes my house “ordered in all things” super fast. Perhaps He is expecting ME to do some of that! 😉



Now, after some Bible time, strong green tea, delicious scrambled eggs, and a gluten-free brownie, I am ready to face this freezing cold morning. God bless!


Pentecost Sunday Roasted Marshmallows

I am always looking for fun activities or recipes that bring Church teaching to life for my kids.  Anything goes, but the projects must be easy (I’m no Martha Stewart!) and gluten-free dairy-free substitutions must be possible.

For example, this Easter dessert celebrating Jesus’ Resurrection (found at Campfires and Cleats) can be easily baked using gluten and dairy-free ingredients.   The perfect combo of easy, yummy, and GFCF!

After Pinteresting like crazy, all I found for Pentecost were recipes that were too complicated—I’m not good at making iced sugar cookies or intricate icing decorations.  As we were grilling hamburgers one evening, a light bulb went off.  Why not use the fire to roast Pentecost Marshmallows?  It would be easy, yummy, and GFCF!

Yes, you read that right.  We shoved marshmallows on a stick and called it a day.


First, my husband lit the grill.


While we waited for the charcoal to get white hot, we watched the flames shoot high in the air.  We read scripture from the Acts of the Apostles:


Right on cue, a gust of wind flipped my Bible page as I was reading about the “strong driving wind” that brought the fire of the Holy Spirit.  We got a good giggle out of that!

The kids and I talked about how the Holy Spirit burns inside all of us.  We may be afraid to speak up about our faith to the world, but the Holy Spirit gives us courage.  Others can tell we are Christians by our actions because we have the Holy Spirit burning inside of us.

Next, we put marshmallows on our skewers….

And carefully roasted them over the grill.

We poured “Holy Spirit” sprinkles on our marshmallows!


I would love to show you the picture of a beautiful finished product, but that’s not what happened.  We were a gooey, sticky, yummy mess!  Full of marshmallows AND the Holy Spirit!


Prayer to the Holy Spirit

 Breathe into me, Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.

Move in me, Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.

Attract my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy.

Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy.

Protect me, Holy Spirit that I may always be holy.

—St. Augustine

How exciting!  This blog post was #1 for the month of June at Catholic Bloggers Network 2014 Linkup Blitz!  Please check out the other big clicks for the month!
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