Hold onto Joy.

Sunday, December 13, 2020 – Third Sunday of Advent

Dear Nicholas, Josiah, and Elizabeth, 

I’ve been thinking a lot about joy lately. For a while now, I’ve noticed that my reaction to something amazing or overwhelming is just to laugh. I’m not sure why–maybe a lack of words as I process my thoughts, maybe a chuckle as I think, “Of COURSE that’s happening right now…” But whatever the reason,  there it is—laughter pops out of my mouth before I can stop it. 

The most notable was the day we found out about you, twins. I’m sure you know the story by now, but it’s just so clear in my mind. Man, I was laughing, your dad was laughing, even the doctor and your Kuya were laughing. Why? Because what other reaction could we have had to God’s biggest surprise for us yet?

We laughed as we shared the news with our parents, as we pondered how we were going to fit 3 cribs into one room, as we shopped for a minivan, as we stared at literal towers of diaper boxes. God had surprised us for sure, and we were met with joy. 

The responsorial psalm today comes from Mary, her Magnificat. She’s been delivered some pretty incredible news, a definite curveball from God. And, her reaction? Joy. I guess in my mind, she’s laughing to herself too. But, the words speak for themselves:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;

my spirit rejoices in God my savior.

For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;

behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.

The Mighty One has done great things for me,

and holy is his name. (Luke 1:47-49)

She rejoices even though her world has just turned upside down. She thinks about the turmoil in her immediate future, but praises God’s name and shares how good he is. 

As Catholics, we find our joy in times of happiness or in struggle. We find it by tapping into this Spirit within our hearts: the Holy Spirit. We rejoice in God’s goodness, even when life looks overwhelming. We do this by looking backwards at all the ways God has loved us, provided for us, came through at the last minute for us. And, Mary does the same: she recounts time and time again of when God has helped those in need and fulfilled his promises. 

The first reading talks about this same Spirit, but this time from the prophet Isaiah. 

The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,

because the LORD has anointed me;

he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,

to heal the brokenhearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives

and release to the prisoners,

to announce a year of favor from the LORD

and a day of vindication by our God.

I rejoice heartily in the LORD,

in my God is the joy of my soul. (Isaiah 61:1-2, 10)

This Spirit is the Holy Spirit, the same one you received at your baptism. It’s the same one that we remember as we light candles and see the power and simplicity of the flame. The same Spirit that the prophet Isaiah spoke of, that St. John the Baptist preached about, that Jesus promised his disciples, that ran through Mary’s very being—that same Spirit lives in you too. 

The Spirit of the Lord is upon YOU. He has anointed you. He has sent you to bring joy to the poor, to heal the broken-hearted, to fight for freedom for those who are chained by sorrow, sin, or the systems in place in our world. You were sent to announce that God will show us his favor, his goodness, his glory. 

It’s easy–especially as you get older—to let life or your troubles or finances or whatever to take the place of that Spirit. It’s easy for your joy to fade in response to the sorrows and inequality in today’s world. That’s why these readings at Advent are so important to hear each year—to remind us of the Holy Spirit, of our joy, of our purpose. 

Rejoice–have joy! Joy is the medicine this world needs. You hear me say that you’re good medicine for our families? Children are. They heal the wounds and the worries of our older hearts. But it’s not because of some magical powers–it’s your joy! You look at the world differently, know the power of a moment, share openly with others, and somehow see the goodness inside of others. Your joy comes from the Holy Spirit–the spirit of God inside of you. 

Joy heals. Don’t let it be squandered away while you do “grown-up” things. Don’t let the world and its fast-paced chaos take your joy away. Find those moments of Christmas lights and remote-controlled cars and a really good book and an epic game of hide and seek. Find joy in the stories of our family. Take heart in the ways that God has provided for you and others. 

Then, go use that. Don’t let the Spirit of God lay dormant–Let your joy live strongly in you! Let it guide you to help and serve, to welcome people into your world of laughter and goofiness, dragon sounds and minions. 

While we sing songs of joy and light candles on this third Sunday of Advent, “Gaudete Sunday,” let this be a reminder every year to hold onto our joy. Lord knows the world needs every ounce we can share! 

I love you! 



Wait and See

Sunday, November 29, 2020 – First Sunday of Advent

First Reading: Isaiah 63:16B-17; 19B; 64:2-7

Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9

Gospel: Mark 13:33-37

Happy First Sunday of Advent!

This Sunday, we start the four weeks that lead us to Christmas. So, this morning I’m camped out at the kitchen table while you watch cartoons, drinking a large cup of coffee, and trying to reconnect — with you, with myself, with God. That’s after all, what the liturgical year is all about. We have specific times in our calendar to focus, to pray intentionally, to remember God in different ways. The seasons give us a natural pause in our daily lives to take stock of what’s most important in our lives and recenter on God.

For me, among other things, Advent always signals that the music in my life needs to shift: something purposeful, more heartfelt. The song, “Be Thou My Vision” always comes to me this time of year—and this morning was no different. A variation that I’ve come to love over the years is “You are My Vision” by Rend Collective Experiment. The original song is beautiful, haunting almost, with a request to be united with God. This version is a bit more upbeat, but it is a mission statement of sorts. The subtle change in the lyrics helps us to speak plainly to God about his place in our lives.

You are my vision, O King of my heart
Nothing else satisfies, only You Lord
You are my best thought by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Your presence my light

This— this is what I long for in my life. The lyrics point to this relationship with God that transcends the craziness of daily life.

God is my vision—what I see. He is the King of my heart—what I love. He satisfies my desires—what my body needs. He is my best thought—what I think. His presence is my guiding light—at night, in the morning, when I’m exhausted, when I’m happy, when I’m playing, or when I’m crying. This is what your dad and I are trying to teach you.

Being part of God’s family is not about memorizing prayers and doing the right hand motions. Our faith is a relationship, and it’s one that permeates our minds, our hearts, our days and nights. God is a direction, a focus point, a Love that we are seeking after and yet simultaneously have in our hearts already.

The readings today point to this, too. The first reading practically begs God to rescue God’s people from themselves. They have wandered, they have forgotten his ways, and they want to come back — but they just can’t do it on their own. It says, “Why do you let us wander, O LORD, from your ways, and harden our hearts so tall hat we fear you not? Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage” (Isaiah 63:17). How heartbreakingly real, right? It’s a plea — “God, we’re messed up and have left you and we want to come back, but we don’t know how. Come help, please.”

Our lives echo this problem too. It’s easy for us to wander away from our relationship with God, to fill our days with important things to do and forget to give time to God too. It’s easy for us to be tempted by the flashiness of exciting moments, like gingerbread houses and playdates, but to neglect the time it takes to sit and listen to where God is leading us. You all know I’m just as guilty of this too. I often choose the bright flashing lights of the notifications on my phone over the quiet solace of being present to you and to God.

Thank God for Advent! We are given these four weeks to set aside our crazy lives, calm down a bit, and focus on what’s really important. It helps our hearts to get checked in again and retrains our brains to see the beauty of God’s gift to us at Christmas. We try to shut off the noise of the world and look out for the ways God is reaching out to us.

Because that’s part 2 of what happens in the readings today: God’s people reach out to him in their wandering, AND THEN God reaches back!

He shows us his love in ways that we notice once we slow down. For your dad, God might speak to him through a word of Scripture or a reminder of people doing good work in the world. For Elizabeth, it might be a sunset in the perfect shade of pink that makes her heart smile. Josiah might find that perfect walking stick when we head out on our next family walk. Nicholas might see God reaching out in a moment of warmth from a friend. For me, it’s a song that reminds me of God’s root in my heart.

And, so we pray today, each in our own way. We light a candle on our wreath and begin to change our house from fall leaves into the purple and pink of Advent. We enter into a simpler time while the rest of the world is ramping up with festivities. We add in some books and music that help us to think about God’s love for us. We take a breath, recognize our mistakes, reach out to God, and wait to see his love coming into our lives.

I can’t wait to see it all with you 🙂 I love you!


It takes more.

Dear Kids, 

Tonight, your dad and I (and most of the country) are trying to watch the election results to see what our country is going to look like for the next few years. I’ve been listening to people talk and post on social media lately, and I keep thinking about how monumental these moments are. If you were to read what most people are saying, it seems as if this one vote, this one moment, this one decision will heal all wounds. 

It worries me. It worries me because I don’t want you to grow up thinking that one decision, one law, one moment can change big world issues. One law cannot fix the problem of abortion. One state’s mask mandate cannot fix a global pandemic. One vote cannot change a country’s trajectory. 

No, it takes more. It takes a group of dedicated people to look at the whole game board. It takes vision and purpose, determination and grit. It takes a willingness to work hard and a large amount of hope that your hard work will pay off. It takes buy-in from the community.  Change doesn’t happen from one moment. It’s a process. 

Some of my friends say that a court decision or a law that makes abortion illegal will save the babies. But, friends, unfortunately, I don’t think it will. All it will do is make it illegal. It won’t help the abandoned mother, who doesn’t know where to turn. It won’t help the family that can’t support another child. It won’t help the victims of rape or domestic abuse. It won’t solve the problem—it will just eliminate abortion as a solution. 

A leader would focus less on making abortion illegal, and more on the solutions to the problems that lead to crisis pregnancies. We can’t expect all of the United States to practice abstinence outside of marriage, so we need access to birth control and contraception. We can’t expect all families to be safe, healthy places for women and children, so we need to improve our social services to help them in times of crisis. We cannot expect all babies to be planned and able to be provided for, so we need to revamp the adoption process to safely and affordably place babies with families that are aching for a child in their home. 

Tonight, we’re watching as our country votes—divided. We’re watching friends and family members vote for a candidate that I can’t stand. I firmly believe that our country needs more than just a strong leader. We need someone with compassion, with humility, with grace under pressure. People are hungry for what is good and true to be preached from the White House again. We are hurting for the morality and ideals that the Constitution reminds us of. But, it takes more. 

It takes the community rising up to care for one another — whether out of compassion or obligation. It takes wearing masks and cleaning hands, no matter your belief in the validity of the science. It takes all of us to care for our environment and make difficult choices, like electric cars or using less energy. 

So, as I continue to wait to see how our divided country will move forward, please know this: whatever problem you face in life, please know: strong solutions aren’t found in simple choices. It takes more. It takes community and vision, and a willingness to fight for the good in the world. 

I love you!


Let’s Define Pro-life:

Pro-life: the belief that all life matters + is sacred. It is worth protecting + is not of changing value based on age, character, or circumstance.

So—to those who believe that they are pro-life:

  • Are you abiding by rules to keep other safe from a potentially deadly virus?
  • Are you protecting the lives of those dying because of systemic racism and injustice?
  • Are you actively using your words + platforms to encourage others to place the most vulnerable in our community before ourselves?

Because what I’m seeing is a whole lot of Christians using the “my rights, my body” argument and a whole lot of people placing their individual desires above the betterment of others to defend their choices right now. Which, sounds….familiar.

You know, like the response when you say it’s okay to be “slightly inconvenienced” by a pregnancy and baby so that we can protect the life of an unborn child? “My rights, my body” doesn’t agree with you so much there, does it?

Can the government tell you to have a baby—-but, it can’t tell you to wear a mask? Is that really what you’re saying here? Because BOTH are life issues. BOTH are freedom issues. You can’t stand on one side and then flip to the other. Make up your mind.

Now, I’m all about you thinking critically. The teacher in me BEGS you to. Sheep don’t make good humans. However, don’t go against the system and call it corrupt just because “you don’t wanna.” That’s some toddler-level stuff right there. We have enough of that floating around my house.

Take a step back and ask yourself:

  • Would Jesus be wearing a mask to protect others? Sure thing. He didn’t bring the lepers INTO the temple and say, “Hey—go ahead. It’s a hoax anyway!” He went to heal them, not to convince the world that leprosy colonies were a construct of the government.
  • Would Jesus be protesting in Portland? You bet he would. The authorities are hurting innocents—-children, mothers, citizens walking down the street. You bet he’d be there LEADING the cause to fight against racism and injustice, not supporting the people trying to squash it with military power.
  • Would Jesus be deporting people or welcoming them to safety? Would Jesus be sitting on his hands while children are locked up in cages, separated from families and lacking a clean, safe place to live? Would he be waiting for the next election before he steps up? I can’t imagine he would. “Let the children come to me,” he said—-and he wasn’t checking their papers.
  • Would Jesus be waiting for the next Baby Bottle Coin Drive to support a mother in crisis? No—he’d be out, helping parents in need, asking how to support new moms, trying to limit risk to those who are experiencing homelessness, poverty, or abuse.

So, let’s just boil this down: Call yourself what you’d like but please don’t be unaware. Pro-life means that you love and support and protect ALL life:

  • your family’s lives
  • my family’s lives
  • Black lives
  • Asian lives
  • Latino lives
  • immigrant lives
  • transgender lives
  • infant + prenatal lives
  • elderly lives
  • teacher lives
  • student lives
  • lives with autoimmune diseases
  • healthy lives
  • kind people’s lives
  • belligerent people’s lives
  • gay lives
  • straight lives
  • non-binary gender lives
  • American lives
  • lives in war-torn countries
  • criminals’ lives
  • protesters’ lives
  • police officers’ lives
  • wealthy lives
  • lives in poverty
  • lives that look like yours
  • lives that don’t

Because as much as you may love/hate/be indifferent to them + their struggle—-being pro-life is NOT ABOUT YOU. That’s literally the point. It’s about loving others more than self. More than liberty. More than happiness. Even more than our own life.

Please, please, please, Christians—I’m not going to tell you what to believe, but please start acting like the pro-life people you profess to be.

Lives depend on it.

**Personal Note: Yes, this is pointed. Yes, I’m talking to those who have influence in the church + social media. Yes, I’m talking to the Catholics + Christians that I have listened to and prayed with for so many years. Yes—I’m still a work in progress myself. And, yes—I am angry + disappointed + frustrated + heartbroken + praying. God and I are working on me. Please continue to work on yourself too.

Christianity isn’t a fairy tale.

Jesus isn’t some kind of fairy godmother. He doesn’t sit in the clouds, waiting to grant a wish or wave a magic wand. Christianity isn’t a fairy tale.

Jesus walked the earth with passion and purpose. He was a loud, angry, sorrowful, joyful, dedicated man who spoke out against what was wrong with the world he lived in.

He alienated himself and his followers. He taught against authority. He reached out across boundary lines to the voiceless in society. Never would you have heard the story of a blind man, a Samaritan, women, lepers, or servants if it weren’t for Jesus walking the road next to them.

I listened to Austin Channing Brown and Brené Brown on Unlocking Us yesterday. They talked about how Jesus is portrayed so differently in white churches or Black churches, and so the people believe, pray, act differently. Black Jesus suffers with the people, lifts up the oppressed, and fights for the voiceless…and white Jesus just preaches about peace and love and feeds people. That hit hard.

I couldn’t help but think that our generation has grown up with too many Jesus coloring pages and glittered up VBS projects. We’ve got a feel-good mentality floating around that makes it seem like Jesus is just there as a beacon of hope and peacefulness.
That’s not Christianity.

We aren’t following a man who makes life all shiny and sparkly. We’re following a man who suffered, died, and was buried. We’re following a man who lived a simple life as a migrant, and continued his ministry without a home base or a paycheck. We’re following a man who led a revolution—and still is.

Please don’t give the world a watered-down Jesus. Speak of his fire. Speak of the power of the Holy Spirit—not its gentleness and patience. Speak of God’s never-ending passion for the poor and the oppressed. Speak of how the Gospel shows Jesus sitting with the suffering, stepping into disaster with families and people who have been abandoned by the system. Speak of the justice of the Lord. Speak of His love for what is good and true and loving.

That’s the cross we take up when we say we believe. That’s the way we follow him.

Lose Yourself.

June 28, 2020—The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1:             2 Kgs 4:8-11, 14-16a
Responsorial:      Ps 89 2-3, 16-17, 18-19
Reading 2:            Rm 6:3-4, 8-11
Gospel:                   Mt 10:37-42

My sweet kids,

I read a post the other day on a Christian mom’s blog, talking about motherhood and all of the sacrifices that go with it. She talked about how difficult being a parent was and how exhausting it is to constantly put another human before your own wants and needs. She wrapped up her writing with a summary: Don’t lose yourself in parenthood. In other words, her advice was that we shouldn’t sacrifice ourselves (or our identities) for the sake of others.

Shortly after that, Nicholas came up to me with a homemade card: a simple piece of scratch paper, folded in half, with one word scrawled in beautiful red crayon. MOMMY. Not Jeanette. Not Mrs. Lopez. Not any of the other names or qualities or versions of myself that have existed in these fine 34 years. Mommy.

I couldn’t disagree more with that blogger. Parenthood is ENTIRELY about losing yourself.

A little backstory: Before I met your dad, I made all of my own decisions: what to eat, how fast to drive, where to go, what to do with my money, and even what I did with my time. I ate strawberries and avocados without sharing with people. I went places that had big hills and dangerous cliffs, and it was okay. I spent money on things that I didn’t really need. I even had free time to do things like watch shows that are NOT on PBS Kids. (Shocker, I know.)

It was glorious. It was also all about ME.

And then, your dad and I met. We fell in love, got married, and we became parents. Talk about a game-changer.

Suddenly, I started ordering meals at restaurants based on what you would want to eat. I started to analyze every location we visited for potential dangers and allergies—-no sunset at the cliffs for us for a while. Instead of spending cash on happy hour and fancy cars, now I’m the lady buying 4 gallons of milk and 5 boxes of cereal every week at the grocery store. And thank God for Hulu or I would never see another grown-up show again!

Parenthood changes you.

Scratch that: it SHOULD change you. It should change you down to the core—body, mind, and soul. A mother’s DNA even changes after her baby is born! Everything does. Even your wants and needs. And yes, even your identity.

It should feel like you’re losing yourself. Because you are. Because you’re shedding a former life. You’re taking on a new one. You’re becoming something new.

St. Paul writes in his letter to the Romans:

Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into his death?
We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death,
so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead
by the glory of the Father,
we too might live in newness of life.
(Romans 6:3-4)

When we say we’re following Jesus, we’re saying that we’re going to die. Did you catch that? Life as we know it will end—as soon as we say that we’re following Christ. We’re going to be uncomfortable. We’re going to suffer. We’re going to face all kinds of difficult moments in our lives. And we’re going to change because of it.

As Christians, we run through this cycle perpetually: life, suffering, death, new life. We live our daily life and experience a conflict that causes us to suffer, to change, to grow. For most of us, those are the moments when we’re angry or upset or even grieving. We’re experiencing something that tears us apart from our wants and desires. When we surrender to that suffering, part of our old self dies. We have to change. And usually, so does part of our daily life.

But, with the beauty of Christ and his resurrection—we take on new life. We start living as new versions of ourselves. We find new joy. We grow stronger or more loving or realize parts of ourselves that we didn’t understand before.

Let me be totally honest: Becoming a parent is suffering. It is a death. Parts of me had to die when I became your mom. They had to be replaced. There was no other way.

I could not make decisions just for myself anymore. What I wanted was no longer the priority. What I felt like doing at any given moment was no longer the guiding force in my life. It couldn’t be. You three and your dad had to be first. You were what God entrusted to me. Living for myself just wasn’t part of the plan anymore.

Don’t get me wrong: I do miss parts of that single life. And there are a lot of moments where it is a struggle to sacrifice what I want or think I need. It would be nice to take a drive down PCH by myself every once in a while without blasting Pete the Cat in the background. I wouldn’t mind sleeping past 7AM either. But, would I trade my life now for what I had back then? Not a chance.

That blog, that mom—she talked as if losing herself was a bad thing. There’s this idea that doing “parenting” things all day is a horrible way to live: cooking, cleaning up after messes, wiping noses, battling tantrums, refilling water bottles, playing cars. But, really? Each of those moments is a chance to serve you, and in turn, to thank God for the gift that you are to me. (Some days I remember that better than others. Ha!)

Now…that being said, God doesn’t want you to be miserable just for the sake of being miserable. If you’re sleep-deprived or hungry or struggling with mental health issues or just need a day to breathe, please…take care of yourself. That’s important. YOU are important.

Living for others doesn’t mean that you run yourself into the ground. Taking up your cross doesn’t mean that you prevent yourself from having joy in your life. It’s really the opposite: by letting your desires go, God is able to flood your world with the simple joys that really make life worth living.

Jesus’s command in the gospel today isn’t only to take up your cross. He says to take up our cross and FOLLOW HIM. That’s the key. He didn’t stay on the cross. We don’t stop on Good Friday. We follow him to the resurrection. We follow him to new life. We continue on to the joy of living a full life with God in it. Less of us, more of him.

So, kids—as far off as this sounds to me now, please be willing to lose yourself as parents. Please let go of who you’ve made yourself to be, and let your experience as a spouse, as a parent, as a child of God form you…over and over again.

St. Ignatius, our guide during many moments of change, pray for us.

Love you!



June 7, 2020—The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Reading 1:             Ex 34:4B-6, 8-9
Responsorial:      Dn 3:52-56
Reading 2:            2 Cor 13:11-13
Gospel:                   Jn 3:16-18

Hey, kids!

I’m assuming you know by now (unless I’ve gotten Lasik done by the time you read this), my eyesight is HORRIBLE. Before I’ve put my contacts in each morning, I can barely see your faces…or the TV…or the cereal I’m pouring for you. You probably see me squint at you a lot. I get frustrated faster. And, all in all, I’m not very functional as a parent or a person.

Imagine if I had to drive! Or, if there were people around that I didn’t know as well as you and your dad! YIKES!

Why, then? Why don’t I just wake up in the morning, hop out of bed, and pop in my contacts? Why don’t I just invest in some glasses for the morning? Why don’t I just cave and get that dang Lasik surgery? Well…to be honest, I don’t have a good reason. It doesn’t really bother me. And, it would be a bigger inconvenience to do those things than to just fumble around half-blind each morning as I squint to turn on PBS Kids for you. As long as I can grab the right remote and pour three bowls of cereal, you’re all happy as clams. And, so am I.

If you needed me to, though, I would. When you were babies, I made sure that I could see. I had to feed you and change diapers and be sure that you were safe. When one of you are sick or hurt, I need my eyes working so that I can help you get better. YOU matter more than my comfort and complacency.

The year 2020 is proving to be a strange way to test our eyesight…as a country and as a family.

The pandemic of COVID-19 is asking us to see a virus that’s invisible. It causes us to stay inside, to wear masks, to “socially distance” ourselves so that we can avoid something we can’t even see. And we do. It’s been difficult some days, but your dad and I think it’s important to be healthy and safe—and to help keep our family and community healthy. We can’t see the virus, but we CAN see the people around us and we know we want to keep them healthy. We CAN see our friends who are exhausted from working in hospitals and we CAN see those grieving from their friends and family lost to a horrible illness. So, we do what we can to help those around us. (You’re all doing a great job too!)

The second way that our eyesight is being tested is through the anti-racism movement that is reaching around the world right now. Kids, I hope this is hard for you to believe. I hope that by the time you read this, racism is a sad part of history. But, unfortunately, too many Mamas have wished that for their babies and it has yet to come true. See, there are some people in our world–even right here in our community–who think that people with black or brown skin don’t deserve the same respect as people with white skin.

It’s called racism. And, it’s a sin.

It’s really a form of blindness. Some people were taught to see people based on the color of their skin. Some people learned that where your family originated from matters more than the content of your heart. Some people think that a person’s race defines their worth. And, their blindness is causing them to miss out on the soul that is inside that person. Their blindness is causing them to judge, to hate, to be cruel.

And, unlike COVID-19, we can see this sickness. We see it on the videos where people in power abuse the vulnerable. We see it in the dismissive words of those who think this is all a conspiracy by the media. We see it as protesters are ridiculed, hurt, and killed for being brave enough to stand up for what’s right.

Racism roams the hallways of schools and workplaces daily, preying on the oppressed and minorities. Racism floods the internet, where people can hide behind a keyboard and type heinous hateful comments. Worse yet, racism thrives in complacency of those who should be allies, those who should speak, those who have influence. When they don’t speak up against racism, they choose their own comfort over someone else’s dignity.

Your dad and I aren’t perfect. (Lord knows that’s true.) We’re trying to see people more clearly though. We’re challenging our own eyesight. I grew up around a lot of people who look just like me (except a little more blond and a little less melanin). So, some things I took for granted need to be looked at a little more closely. I’m trying my best to learn from some really smart people and to listen to my friends who have lived different experiences than I have.

If I stay stuck in my blindness, I’m selfishly choosing complacency over other human lives. If I don’t seek to see and learn and advocate for those in need, I’m saying that other people don’t matter enough for me to be uncomfortable.

But, they do matter. Black lives matter.

I want to understand. I want to see better. I don’t want to fumble blindly through life and hope that I’m doing enough. I can’t sit comfortably knowing that I’m blind to the hurt of so many people. If I don’t stand up against racism, I’ve let my fear blind me too.

I need to see. I don’t want to guess or assume or even use my own imperfect eyesight.

And that’s what Dad and I have been trying to teach you—but especially now. We need to see each person we meet with the eyes of our Creator—as someone made in the image and likeness of God, every part of them.

We see people on our walks and say hello. We look people in the eye. We smile. We encourage people (even if we don’t know them!). We learn about our families and our cultures (all 4 of them!). We visit our friends and learn about their families.

As Christians, we are called to enter into community with the whole world. Humans were created in LOVE, in the image of the Trinity, in perpetual relationship. You guys? Christians were built for a moment just like this! When the world is troubled and fractured and blind, we are called to be loving and united and see with the eyes of our hearts.

The Gospel today is famous: John 3:16. It’s quoted far and wide, to show that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but have eternal life.” We profess that God loves us so much that he gave us a way (Jesus!) to reach salvation–to spend eternity with him in Heaven.

But, right after that? The Gospel of John says:

“The light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come into light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes toward the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.” (John 3:19-21)

It’s incredible that we have a God who wants to save us. He loves us so much that he died for us. But, we have to choose to come into the light. We have to live the truth. We have to live in a way that rejects the darkness and glorifies God. Just as Jesus healed the sight of the man born blind, He can open our eyes too—as long as we want him to.

So, that’s my prayer for you tonight, on this Solemnity of the Holy Trinity:

Lord, give us your eyes. Let us see each other with the fullness that you see each one of your children. Help the blindness of our hearts and minds to be healed. Send the Holy Spirit to make us powerful beacons of your love and your light, so that others may see clearly too. Amen.

Love you TONS,


Why I Hustle…

I’ve been stressing over my outfit for a week now, ever since that phone call came that I got the interview. A new start–an opportunity for movement, more stability, more money for our family. And, for the first time in my life, I’m nervous for an interview.

You know, before I met your dad and you three were born, I was pretty fearless. Some might say I was just overly confident. But, I never really stressed over my career or my finances. God always seemed to cover what I couldn’t. It’s only now that my heart races when I think of our bank accounts and daycare costs. It’s only because of our family that I push and hustle to make every dollar I can.

I know your dad agrees. (He works even more than I do!) But, the purpose is the same: it’s all for you.

…to provide for you.

…to inspire you to strive for great things.

…to move us forward–to move myself forward, so that I’m a full, in-color version of myself instead of an empty shell.

…to make this world a better place for you.

…to live the cycle of struggle, success, and failure so that I can help you through those too.

That’s what finally centered me this morning, as I pulled out of the parking lot to head to my interview. I saw three precious car seats, reminding me of the incredible blessing you are. Why wouldn’t I bust my tail to do something for you? I’d do anything for you. This one is easy.

So…my smile is on. My mind is centered. My nerves are calmed. And, I’m off—siempre adelante—just for you!




Every Hair on Your Head

June 25, 2017—The Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1:          Jer 20:10-13
Responsorial:   Ps 69:8-10, 14, 17, 33-35
Reading 2:          Rom 5:12-15
Gospel:                Mt 10:26-33


Hey, kiddos!

So, I found a gray hair the other day. Just one—a lonely, wiry, soul-crushing gray hair. And, after my minor freakout in the car, I pulled it out and continued on with my day. But that still haunts me a little. 31 years of no gray hairs, and now…it begins. Slowly but surely, my body will start to grow older. My thick hair has already given up in the fight against the barrage of pregnancy and mama hormones in the past three years. Now, it’s getting harder to climb up and down those stairs every night, and I feel like my joints are getting pretty good at predicting the weather.

All in all, kiddos, your mama isn’t so young and spry any more. This Southern California/Orange County mentality would tell me to do a cleanse/detox/”don’t eat anything but cayenne pepper and lemon water for 10 days.” (Seriously? I can’t go 2 hours without eating carbs or chocolate.) They might tell me to start Crossfit or yoga or pilates. They might even rave about the newest supplement or essential oil that can make me feel young again. And as well-intentioned (and healthy) as those things might be, I would be seeking them out for the wrong reasons.

See, this 2017 version of society equates your body with self-worth. If your body doesn’t look right or work right, then YOU aren’t right. But, you know, we are more than that. C.S. Lewis is quoted as saying, “You are not a body. You are a soul—you have a body.” Even though he didn’t actually say it—and even though the Tumblr/Instagram world has taken this TOTALLY out of context—it shows something. We are this incredible combination of body and soul—not just body, not just soul. Both are important. Both make us human. Both contribute to our identity and self-worth.

Jesus talks about this too. He compares us to the sparrows, saying that “Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31). We’re worth more than MANY sparrows! Think about that for just a second…

Jesus didn’t say that the sparrows don’t matter, but people do. He didn’t say that his followers are important, but other people aren’t. He didn’t even say that you’re worth just as much as a sparrow because everything is equal. No, no, no, no, no. He says that sparrows are so important that God the Father cares when every one of those tiny birds falls to the ground. Every living thing is important and worthy of love.

But, then…he also says that we shouldn’t be afraid of anything because God thinks we are worth more than many sparrows. So, kids…if He pays that much attention to the little birds, he REALLY pays attention when something happens to you! He really cares! It really matters! We aren’t alone in our moments of worry and grief. We aren’t alone when we feel scared or uneasy. Whether something is threatening our body or our soul, we are not alone in this—-because God the Father is watching and listening and caring about it all.

Even the (gray) hairs on our head.

Even the crazy, stressful weeks.

Even the sleepless nights.

Even the moments of silly, unnecessary anxiety.

Even the moments of grief and heartache.

Sometimes, we can feel alone in our struggles. And, I totally get it.  God seems pretty silent during some moments of our lives. Sometimes, I hear the voices of the rest of the world loud and clear—but, God’s voice seems like just a faint whisper. And, when I don’t take time to sit and pray, it’s even harder to hear Him. But, God wants to be present to our bodies AND our souls.

So, that’s why I don’t detox or do pilates to do a quick boost to my body. Or stress over gray hair. Because God finds value in my human body. God sees me as beautiful and worthy of love, even in my imperfections and achy joints. Our bodies are the way that great things are done in this world—like serving someone or cooking people delicious food. They’re also the vessels to bring great things into this world—like you three!

(That being said, this summer needs to be the summer of eating better, exercising more, and getting our healthy lives back after six months of “survival mode.”)

So, body and soul—God the Father loves you.* And your dad and I love you. Not just your body. Not just your soul. But, ALL the wonderful, glorious parts of you.

Nicholas, God gave you “smiling eyes” (as Lola calls them!) and a joyful heart. My gosh, kid! Your laugh can brighten up even the darkest of days. Thank you for being so full of love and life!

Josiah, you are so strong! Even at six months, you push up and rock back and forth like a champ, kid! And, on the inside, your heart is so pure. The way you interact with each person you see shows me that you’ll have awareness and compassion for others as you grow up.

Elizabeth, my sweet girl! Those dimples are just adorable–too hard not to kiss! But, oh, you have a formidable spirit already—destined for overcoming obstacles, just like you do as you crawl across the entire house. You have strength in your spirit, little girl.  

I love you, I love you, I love you!



*I know that people are tired of hearing that “Jesus loves you.” And, in reality, I think you probably already know most of what’s in this letter. Nothing ground-breakingly new here. BUT…I need the reminder of what love really looks like some days. And, I definitely need to be reminded that I’m found worthy by the One who made me. So, like it or not, here’s yet another version of the message that should resonate deeply in our hearts—Jesus loves YOU.)

35,000 Moments

February 12, 2017—Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1:             Sir 15:15-20
Responsorial:       Ps 119: 1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34
Reading 2:            1 Cor 2:6-10
Gospel:                   Mt 5:17-37

Hey, loves!

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how many choices we have to make every day. The internet says that adults make over 35,000 decisions every day. Even you kids make about 3,000 every day! (well, Nicholas does. Probably not you twins, yet.) Man! But, it’s true. Choices are everywhere in my life:

Wake up early or snooze until the babies cry? (I wish snoozing were an option.)

Frosted Mini Wheats or oatmeal? (Really? Frosting wins.)

Curious George or Sesame Street? (Nicholas chose George.)

Clean the kitchen or watch TV? (The kitchen lost this one.)

Hang out with babies or organize the closets? (I chose you, so still a messy closet.)

Decaf or regular? (Decaf. Just for you, twins.)

Eat the last cookie or save it for Dad?  (I ate it. Shh. Don’t tell…)

And, in your lives, those moments of discerning the right choice will likely be some of the most difficult times you experience. It’s challenging to make those big decisions, especially when you feel like it will impact your life and others. So, thankfully–today’s readings give us some insight into how to make a decision well.

See, the Holy Spirit gives us wisdom–the ability to discern what is good and what is not. And then it’s our job to use it. St. Paul talks about how the leaders of his time didn’t quite understand God’s wisdom. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that most of our leaders don’t either. But, you and I have the opportunity to listen to what God says to us about our choices and use his gift of wisdom.

The book of Sirach has a killer line: “Before man are life and death, good and evil, whichever he chooses shall be given him.” And this is the crux of the whole decision-making process, kids. In a few years from now, I’ll be convinced that you really do know the difference between good and bad. As adults, your dad and I really know (most of the time) what is right and what is wrong. And then we choose. We choose to seek life and good things and what brings hope and light into the world. Or, we choose to be selfish or hurtful and we close ourselves off from God. At the end of the day, that’s what it all boils down to.

People will try to tell you that God imposes his will on us all. They might try to convince you that God decides all of this for us. But, the reality is that we have been given the power of choice, more power than we take credit for. Every day, we have 35,000 opportunities to choose good over evil. Sometimes it’s in a little way (like leaving your dad that cookie). Sometimes, it’s a big choice (like sacrificing personal comfort for the good of another person). But, WE have that choice. That’s free will.

The beauty of free will is that we have the ability to do great things in this world and really be active in our acceptance of God’s incredible plan for us. But, the bad thing is that there really are no excuses when we mess up.

Jesus calls out people in the gospels today for being full of excuses. They are following all the commandments…but, just barely. And that’s not quite what God had in mind when he gave the Ten Commandments to us. He wanted us to embrace the goodness behind the law and to take care of each other, not to find loopholes to still do the bad stuff.

So, Jesus tells them that instead of just not being a murderer—we need to reconcile ourselves with our family and friends before we come to God. And, instead of just not physically committing adultery–we need to be faithful and loving in our marriages with our whole heart, mind, and body. And we can’t just avoid lying—but, we need to mean what we say and stay true to our word.

As Christians, we aren’t called to do the bare minimum. We’re called to live boldly and love wholeheartedly. That’s what our choices need to reflect.

We need to mean what we say. So, if we’re talking all about how much we love our family, your dad and I had better show you guys how much we love you in the way we spend our time and energy. If we believe that it’s important to take care of those who are “the least of these,” then we had better figure out a way to donate to the poor and treat them with dignity. If we are so supportive of women choosing to have their babies (even when it’s difficult), then we had better help support them and their children long after that sweet baby is born.

The reality is this: our world is full of people making really nonsensical choices. You are called to do something different. You are called to choose from what is before you: life or death, good or evil, right or wrong. The world will tell you that “right” and “wrong” don’t exist. They’ll say that it’s impossible to know what’s really right or wrong.

But, in your gut…you know. So, my advice to you: trust your gut. That’s the Holy Spirit giving you that wisdom that you need in that moment. Pray and think and trust that God is leading you. Then, choose. Choose what brings life to the world. Choose what is good. My hope is that those choices will be the way this world begins to get a little brighter.

I love you!