Sunday, January 22, 2012

Where to Begin?

It's hard to know exactly how to tell the story of the last few days. So many family and friends loving us, praying for us, supporting us and wanting to know all the details.  And then there is me, just trying to ease in, go slow, savor this new life, take it in slow sips, like a perfectly brewed cup of warm tea on a quiet afternoon after a string of hectic days.

I have created this slide show to tell the beginning of our story. It is hard to believe that a three hour plane ride and endless grace is all that was needed to transition from our life in Louisiana to life here. But so far, it really has been that simple. I know that the grace your prayers have won has made that possible. I cannot thank you enough.  For now, my thoughts are quietly forming themselves into all the things I want to share about this new journey.  While they incubate, enjoy the sights of life in Grano de Oro, Costa Rica.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Useful and Beautiful

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”

I've always loved this quote and I would say it applies doubly to a missionary's suitcases. When you are at home, with space and storage to spare, it is easy to justify the possible usefulness of many things that in the end are in fact just things that you'll never use.  Not so much with a two bag allowance per family member.

We are blessed in that the home we are renting is furnished and the owner is leaving many of the household items in the house.  Nonetheless, a mom making home still reserves the right to bring a bit of her own beauty to that space.  And a dad on an adventure reserves the right to a few fun items of his own. And kids, boys anyway, can beg space for legos, soccer balls, and football trophies.  And somehow amidst the clothes and boots and rain gear, there is space for each person definition of useful and beautiful to be fulfilled in small, intimate ways. There is great joy in this mother's heart for that part of the process.

I think every family would learn a great deal from this challenge. Imagine a two suitcase plus one backpack limit per family member.  You need not consider furniture, and kitchen items and things like bath towels and sheets are packed as choices based on pleasure or frugality, but can be replaced where ever you're heading.  Your allowance must fit all clothes, shoes, homeschooling books and supplies, toys and games, personal items, and any items you would bring to make that place feel like home.  Oh, and just for fun, eliminate one allowed suitcase for the monstrance you are bringing the parish for a gift and another for your husband's computer.  And if you really want to make it a challenge, another for the guitar.

Here is a little look at some of our choices:

Useful: Boots for All the Adventurers

Both: A Basket of Favorites for my Kitchen

Beautiful: Just a Little Box of Pretty for Mom

And the most useful and beautiful of all the items we bring, a vessel of honor for the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord.  A gift from the moderator of the Saint Bryce Foundation, Msgr. Jefferson DeBlanc and his parish to the San Juan Diego mission. 

We pack in our suitcases all the things we think we need to live, but the one thing we really need is already there. Him. Present. Waiting.  And the most important thing we bring does not fit in a suitcase. It is a desire to love Him. comfort Him, adore Him, and enflame that love in the hearts of others.  To tell the poor and the sick and the hurting of the Great Love that sits quietly waiting to meet them, to pour Himself out for them, to bring hope and healing and peace.

As I began the process of packing, I knew well that feeling of being emptied as we prepared for our mission. I have walked this road before. I pondered early on about what a good feeling it is to be emptied of so much stuff, of so many day to day worries and cares. That the space made in not just a blank, bereft space inside, but room for Christ to grow, to fill more of me.

I had no way of knowing the very hard emptying He was about to ask of me. I could not calculate the waves of emotions that would set in as the moment of driving down the drive way for the last time grew near.  That gaping space, that emptiness, it hurts. It is raw and real and deep.  But I know with all my heart, in all my frail brokenness, that the truth remains.  It is His space. He has emptied it for His good purpose, and He will fill it with His goodness.  

As we drive away from one home today with the blessing of another awaiting us, I pray for you all to find a way to empty yourself of something you do not need to be carrying in your heart, to let go of the fear of feeling empty, and to make a little room for Him.  He wants to fill us all.  We must make the space.  Would you too pray for us and especially for the people to whom we go? Pray that we may be able to bring the love of a Savior and the witness of His presence in the Holy Eucharist in a way that fills empty spaces with the warmth of heaven's love.  

We thank you for the kind support and prayers you have offered this past week. They have buoyed us and propelled us forward in a great wave of mercy and grace for which we could not be more grateful.  

Our Gabriel, a sweet friend, and Msgr. DeBlanc

Friday, January 13, 2012

It Wasn't The Goodbye We'd Planned

Yesterday afternoon we were supposed to take a break from our packing and preparations to have a BBQ and some fellowship with our friends before we head out.  A little "goodbye" gathering.

But on Wednesday afternoon at my doctor's appointment, we found a sweet little baby that had already left us and flown home to the Father.  So yesterday, instead of a joyful gathering of friends, we spent the day at the hospital, and, in our hearts, we bid a sad goodbye to our third sweet saint.

I have long ago given up any desire to understand the will of God. I beg Him only the grace to know His will and to do it. In the situation where we now find ourselves, there is no room for wondering. I know what I must do.  So there is only left the begging of the grace to do it.

I have been surrounded by the prayers and love of beautiful souls and the compassion of a wonderful pro-life medical team. It has been a great consolation.  But I hold in my heart the greatest of all consolations, the hope of heaven.  For I realize, that even when my body is well past the age of bearing babies, even if I should live until I am 100, always, I will be an expectant mother, until the day I hold my babies for eternity.

And the hope of that day makes the suffering and struggle and strength to do His will in the hard times all worth it.  For with every drawing near to His cross, we draw near to the glory of the Resurrection as well, and with every bowing low to His sovereignty, we come closer to bowing before His Holy Throne.

With His help and the grace won through your prayers, I will continue to count the ways He loves in the midst of the sadness, to seek joy in the midst of the pain, to trade the ashes of brokenness for the beauty of grace, and to live with expectant hope.

So goodbye for now, sweet baby...pray for us always.

Friday, January 6, 2012


Whether you have found your way here from Facebook or my dear friend Elizabeth's blog, thank you for coming by.  In this new space, I hope to provide a glimpse into the life we as a family are embracing as missionaries in the Catholic Church in service in Costa Rica.  Right now, that life is all about packing and preparing and praying our way to our post.  Will you join us in prayer as we fill our final days here with the business of work, the still silence of prayer and the warm embrace of family and friends? And why don't you leave us the intentions or one word your heart is speaking to you this New Year? We will carry them with us on our journey and deliver them safely into the hands of Our Lady of the Angels at her shrine in Cartago. We would love to take you all on this adventure with us.