Friday, December 24, 2010

Prayer buddy reveal


I had the inmense pleasure to pray for Brenda from Life as we Know It. .

I had been a long time lurker of hers specially to find out what Maggie was up to so it was great to be able to follow their path more closely in building a family.

I laughed every time she called her husband CHE since I could not but imagine an Argentinian Gaucho! Che is slang for guy in Argentina so I was always imagining an Argentinan in the USA!

I loved reading the updates on their pregnancy and Maggie during a very dark period for me since it gave me hope that even in the hardest of circumstances God is always there.

I put intentions at the Basilica of Guadalupe for a healthy pregnancy and delivery, prayed at Adoration, offered my hospital stay and most recent miscarriage and the pain surrounding it for her and had her and her family adopted by a convent.

I will continue to pray for you and your family Brenda and will be right there praying when the time comes for the birth of your new baby.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

An early Christmas present

Yesterday I went to the appointment with what I thought was a grief counselor (she turned out to be a normal psychologist, not specializing in grief) and the appoinment became an early Christmas gift.

One of several that I have received since Monday.

I am sure it has to do with all of your prayers and my very powerful prayer buddy and the intercession of Miguel and Rafael.

How can you explain that various forms of help could come so fast and in the very best forms ever during the most hectic time of the year?

First my meeting with the counselor. As I write it I cannot belive to this moment what happened. God was there.

She was recommended to me by my local Catholic gyn to get help after my 2 miscarriages and she agreed to meet with me during her vacations. wow.

Help I badly needed. I was in such bad shape that the slightest things made me cry.

So I arrived at this very sunny and warm office (it was been quite cold for Mexico City standards the last weeks) and I was greeted by this 50 plus very kind looking woman.

She hugged me from the get go to welcome me something not that common even by our very physical culture standards. I felt completly safe and welcome.

She asked me how I was doing and why I was there and I began my story, not of the 2 miscarriages, but that it all started 3 years ago.

She listened to me with her heart. I could feel it.

And after a while she asked me to stop and breath deeply and to sense my body.

So she began to teach me some breathing excercises and to start telling her what my body was saying.

It became painfully clear after a few minutes that my body was screaming both from physical and emotional pain. Screaming.

I had not been listening to it in all of this mess.

My shoulders felt so heavy and my chest oppresed. And I began to cry , from deep deep down. She asked me to focus on the moment, on what I was feeling and to describe it in the most primal sense I could, something very, very difficult coming from a person that likes to analyse everything.

It took many efforts, but finally I was able to connect with myself and everything in me screamed that I needed care, rest and peace.

Then she asked me something that utterly surprised me. To relate to myself as a mother would. What? To take care of myself as a mother would. As if I were the child.

It broke all my barries and all my preconceived notions.

I needed to be taken care of? Me? In the myer briggs I appeared to be protector, not the other way around.

That all my mothering instincts could be directed to me first and then to others?

Immediately came to mind the image of my maternal grandmother. An amazing woman, the very best woman one could ever hope to have as a grandmother and her nickname for me: Schatzie, little treasure in German.

She called me this even if she did not speak German and I was named after her, since its the way my father has always called me and she loved it.

I was always her little treasure and felt so very loved and secure with her.

Slowly I began to feel very, very loved. I cannot explain it other than God.

I could feel my grandmother right there. I could see her very light blue eyes, her very slight frame and all her love. She loved God and could transmit it to everybody she met. She was a prayer warrior. Always with the Rosary.

So the counselor told me that my task in the next few days was to do unto me as a mother would do and that if the image of a mother was my grandmother treat myself as she would have done.

How had she treated me as a child? What had she told me time and time again? And to do this to myself the next days.

The counselor said that the way to become a mother is first to treat yourself as a mother would.

My grandmother had loved me with such a pure love that I cried, but now with tears of love.

It resonated to me on such a deep level I cannot describe it. I can truly say she was there and so was God.

I felt such peace.

I left her office so light I cannot describe it. Emotionally drained, but with peace.

This has never happened in my whole life and for the first time in many years I felt again my grandmothers presence.

I decided not to go back to the office for the rest of the day and instead took care of several things that I had been puting off that were just for myself.

I had lunch in a very simple restaurant, but took the time to eat, to enjoy each bite and sat by the sun just looking at people and life.

I bought a children´s book for learning the rosary just for myself with the most amazing pictured for the Virgin of Guadalupe that showed her as a 14 year old girl. It was a gift for me and one that I cannot stop smiling about.

Later that day I began receiving several other unexpected gifts.

But this by far was the most precious one.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Breakdown and hopefully a turning point

This weekend I had what you could call a breakdown.

A breakdown that I am not surprised has arrived.

It happened in what should have been a joyous occasion. My parents and siblings were all together for the very first time in months (my sister and her family live in another city) and we were there to start the Christmas celebrations and to celebrate Advent.

I am too embarassed to give details, but somebody in my family mentioned that I was stressed in a very sharp tone in the middle of lunch and I basically broke down in tears in the restaurant and when we came home went to my room refusing to come down for dinner. I could not stop crying.

I ended up in my room for many, many hours crying and very mad at this person whom I love very, very much. How dare him tell me that I am stressed!

Does he not know that I am barely surviving? That somedays I can barely wake up?

I then poured out my heart to my DH and told him how much all of what has happened in the last years has hurt me on a very deep level and shaken me to the core. We had a heart to heart like never before.

I begged God for help. Told Him I could not go on.

I have been feeling like I have been swimming against huge waves and the more I try to reach shore, the farther away it seems. My 2 miscarriages have almost drowned me and on Saturday when this happened I felt with barely the strenght to continue to swim.

Add to this my DH´s lack of direction in his job at 43 and me hiding from most people that I am supporting us in a job I do not like, deaths in both families, many health complications on both sides together with IF (just this year between DH and I we were 7 times in hospitals), financial stresses brought by these crisis, etc.

Basically my life is where I would have never imagined it would be.

And it hurts.


I know that God must have a plan for all of this. I know it in all this darkness.

Yet, it hurts and continues to hurt when I thought it could not hurt more.

And I need help. This has become clear.

And God, I think, has been providing it since Saturday.

I began today by feeling an urgent need to go to Mass early and there I had an amazing confession. I haven´t had the energy for weeks, but today I was able and felt so much peace on my way there.

During confession I was told by the priest a story from his brother which I think was the reason that God wanted me at this Mass:

His brother had lost a newborn baby due to SIDS and he told the priest that he always thought that he would take care of a child, but with the death of the baby he found out that he now would be taken care of by his own child in Heaven.

It left me speechless and in the middle of many tears shed in the confessionary I felt some hope.

That Rafael and Miguel might be taking care of us in all of this, I had been praying to them,, but had not envisioned them watching over us like I would have watched over them .

Not the order of things I would have wanted to live, but that one that makes me feel near them.

And God continued to help today.

I had received on Friday a call by my amazing Catholic local gyn who was checking up on me after the D&C.

He also wanted to check up on me emotionaly and he told me that what we had been living was amazingly hard. Miscarriages back to back after a long time of IF and with medical complications can break the hardiest.

I began to cry and asked him for help. Out of the blue. I never expected it.

I told him that I needed to speak to somebody and asked him if he knew of person that he trusted, that would not start recommending me IVF. He said he would think about it.

And today he called. I did not expect it.

He gave me the name of a person specializing in grief. He had even called her to recommend me to her.

This amazing holy man. A super-numerary from the Opus Dei who is a saint in my eyes.

This woman was expecting my call and due to the inmense respect that she has for him has accepted to see me this week when she is on vacation.

God in the middle of the darkness.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

"Look vertically, not horizontally"

About a week and a half ago I wrote about the advice that a monk, my spiritual director, had given me when I told him I was having a hard time with faith and all that we had been living in the last years.

He did not mention a retreat or more prayer, but instead that I should go on a romantic trip with my DH to really rest and focus on us. An advice that surprised me, but at the same time was very wise.

Without knowing all that would happen this week he also told me that it was OK to be mad at God about all that had been going on in our lives. I think he would agree I have now even more reasons to be mad on a very human level.

Another health crisis, another miscarriage, more money spent when it was already tight, no possibility of becoming a mother in sight, the possibility of me graduating as a practioner farther away, etc.

I had told him that I was feeling that all what had happened in the last 3 years was unfair. We were good people, we were trying our hardest to do what God wanted and we both were commited to bringing Napro to Mexico and the more we tried to promote this the worse and worse it went for us and the father away the possibility of a family for us was.

It seemed to me that the Devil was working overtime to make us give up and that God was doing nothing to help us. Several people had even told me this and even some had warned us about all of this when we started. They said that things would start to happen that we would not understand, but to keep ahead.

We discussed what Sta Teresa de Avila had said to God when things got rough, something like this: "No wonder you have so few friends, since this is how you treat them".

Then he told me all of this was normal and that of course the bad guy did not want for Napro to come here and that all that was happening to us and to the other practitioners was a clear sign that we were on the right path. Wow... it is kind of scary.

Then he told me: Its OK to be mad, even be mad with God and Christ. Its human and They know it. Then he said:

>"But when you are mad do not look horizontally. Do not look at your neighbors that did IVF and have lovely children, at those that do not do work for Life and have tons of money, to those that have children as they want with no issues, to those that have what you do not have."

"Please. Look vertically, look at the Cross and tell Him what you feel and how all of it is unfair. Tell Him, He will understand. And then tell me if you can be mad for long"

And its true. In all of this I am mad and sad and I cannot deny it, but then I look up at the Cross, look vertically at Him being cruxified I cannot stay mad long. Such wise words.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Being held by the Virgin (and my prayer buddy)

If you would have told me that I would be writing this I would have said you were crazy. Yet here I am. I cannot even believe this all has happened in the last days.

My prayer buddy must be working overtime since I am still alive.

Yesterday we found out we had conceived.

Us, the couple that it took 3.5 years to conceive the first time conceived 3 months later again when we were not actively trying, where there were not clear signs of ovulation, progesterone was almost non existant and I was not doing all the things that I thought had helped the first time (acupuncture, herbs, excercise, meditation, etc).

We also found out that I was in the process of miscarriage.

I had been pregnant a couple of weeks without knowing it and what I had been thinking was my period was the signs of an ongoing miscarriage. The second one in 3.5 months.

We took the news hard.

Yet felt much more peace than the 1st time. This time The Virgin Mary has been all over this.

All had begun really on the Feast of the Inmaculate Conception and went on through the Feast of our Lady of Guadalupe and ended in a convent.

My period or what I thought was my period had arrived that day, yet it was different. I knew deep within myself someting was off.

The very next day, the Feast of San Juan Diego, the bleeding had increased substantially and on Friday I was very, very scared. I had asked for prayers here and many people wrote that they had been praying. My local doctor advised that we go for an U/S as soon as the bleeding lessened.

I was very afraid to go again to the U/S doctor where I had found out we had lost Miguel. I could not bear it. So I did not do it on Monday.

During the weekend I tested to see if I was pregnant and it came out negative so I was thinking something else was going on. I was still uneasy, but decided to concentrate on something else.

This weekend was the Feast of our Lady of Guadalupe and I meditated a lot on Her words to Juan Diego. That we should not be afraid of sickness, that She is there and is Our Mother. I even wrote about it here.

I had no clue on what I was actually living and I would need to live those words.

Monday came and I decided not to do the U/S. I was stil afraid.

Then came yesterday. I asked the Virgin to give me strenght to go to this place. During the U/S the doctor, an amazing woman that had lost 3 pregnancies, told us that she was almost 100% sure I had been pregnant.

Me? Was she sure? My God.

Then she mentioned that most probably my doctor would let nature run its course.

We go to the chapel of the hospital and pray. I see a little paper where somebody had printed the Magnificat. We pray it. We also decided to name the baby Rafael, Raphael in English for the archangel.

I joke and tell my DH we have 2 angels in heaven, but hopefully God does not want another so he can have now a Gabriel, pur only missing archangel. He laughs and tells me in a very serious voice:
"E. we are parents of 2 angels, we are priviledged, do not forget this".

He smiles and I know he means it.

The next hours were a blurr. We tried to locate my doctor and could not and decided to make and appointment and luckily he had one open early. I was driving around not even knowing where I was heading.

We arrived at his office and he confirmed the findings. I had been pregnant. No doubt in his mind and he agreed with the U/S doctor.

And he added that I needed another D&C at the same exact hospital where we had lost Miguel and also where I had been treated for 4 horrible days of complications. The very next day since from what he saw there was a risk of infection or continued anemia.

My worst possible fear had become reality.

We left his office in complete shock. We called our priest and could not find him. We left a message so they could pray for us.

We called our friends, the contemplative nuns of St John, to ask for their prayers and they do not answer the phone. I think that they might be away.

My DH decides to go and knock on their door to ask if we can go in and pray in their chapel. (the doctors office is only 2 blocks from them). I feel its crazy, but we do it.

We knock, one of them opens and in the back I see another. She hugs me.

I start to cry like there is not tomorrow.

They just received a call from the person that had answered in the parish.

We sit out of their small chapel while they pray.

There is beautiful stone image of Our Lady of Guadalupe filled with flowers right in front of us. She is looking at us.

They start to sing in Latin the Magnificat in the chapel.

The exact same prayer I have in my pocket from the chapel in the hospital.

I feel tremendous peace. Feel those words deep within myself

The priest arrives, the exact priest we were looking for. His name: Juan Diego. the name of the Indian to whom the virgin appeared.

We tell him what has happened, he did not know. He feels inmense sadness. He is there for the 7 p.m Mass and had just arrived 5 minutes after us.

We are invited to join a convent of 6 contemplative nuns, all very young, that cover us in prayer, for their private Mass.

The Mass is dedicated to us and our intentions.

The subject: The cross since is the Feast day of St John of the Cross. Since my DH is a 3rd order Carmelite its a very important day. He feels consolation.

After the Mass the priest calls us into the refectory. He tells us not to give up in the quest to be parents, but also that I should not give us my work for Napro.

I tell him that I cannot believe that this is happening. It seems almost a punishment for working for Life.

I tell him paraphrasing st. Teresa de Avila: "If this is how You treat your friends, no wonder you have so few". Why are we given the cross of IF and then miscarriage and not only once, but twice.

I also tell him that I cannot be sick. This is the very week I need to deliver most of my work that I had not done due to my 1st miscarriage. I will not be able to graduate. It will be almost impossible.

He tells us that we have a mission and that we must offer this and whatever else for this. He is sure that God is with us, more than ever. He says it in such a way that peace again fills my heart.

We leave and the sisters tell us they will continue to pray for us and Rafael.

If you would have asked me a few days ago if I would have survived another miscarriage and another D&C I would have said no. I would have died.

Yet here I am. At home recuperating from my second miscarriage and D&C in less than 4 months. Sad and in disbelieve, but with strenght and peace.

thank you prayer buddy and Our Lady

She is with Us.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A 14 year old girl

Today a 14 year old girl appeared to a widowed indian that believed he did not deserve it. Who was he to deserve this? Who are also we to deserve it? Yet She calls us to Her. To be under Her mantle and protection.

He called Her: "My Lady, My Queen, my Little Girl"

She called him: "My youngest and dearest son". "Juanito" meaning little Juan

She asked him to be : "Faithful, not to fear, to trust Her, to do as She told Him".

Words of pure love and that She tell us also

This little girl stood over the moon and gave a sign so powerful, an image of Herself, that 6 million indians converted in the next 7 years, making Latin America Catholic

And today 6 more million people gather at Her feet since Friday.

6 Million.

This is the video from this morning where we sing happy Birthday to Her. Poor, rich, famous, humble, old, young, sick and healthy at Her feet:

She was a sign of unity, not division.

Everything in Her speaks to the heart, when you know what to look for. She is both an Immaculate Conception, a pregnant Virgin, a pregnant "mestizo" woman, an image that speaks both to the Europeans and to the Indians. A beautiful sign of unity.

In this link you can find one of the most beautiful love letter ever written.

The Nican Mopohua. The written account of the apparitions. The second largest collection of words by Our Lady approved by the Church after Fatima.

And today, as everyday, you can put all your petitions at Her feet. She will listen to them as she promised hundreds of years ago. Here you can write all you needs and they will be prayed over at 9 a.m Mass tomorrow and everyday:

Where She will listen to our weeping, sadness, where She will cure our miseries, griefs and pains.

"Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who am your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything."
(Words of Our Lady to Juan Diego

Saturday, December 11, 2010

"Let nothing else worry you, disturb you"

"Let nothing else worry you, disturb you"

These were the words said to Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego hundreds of years ago and She tells me this everyday in my IF journey. To every one of us.

Am I truly listening? Living this way?

She is the Virgin protector of Life. She has been named this by different Popes and bishop. She is pregnant and about to give birth to LIFE and She is telling us not to worry, that She is with us.

Yet, am I listening to what She said? Am I truly living this way? Making Her words my own?

This is Her weekend. A weekend where we conmemorate Her apparitions. Its Her birthday and here in Mexico we sing to Her happy Birthday, Feliz Cumpleaños, Las Mañanitas.

Tomorrow most churches will be tolling their bells in Her honor, millions (last time they say there were 5 million pilgrims during 3 days) will visit Her, masses will be said, altars will be filled with flowers. We will celebrate Her with thousands of fiestas.

Yet for me this is a very difficult weekend on so many levels. I continue to bleed heavily, not so heavy as yesterday and Friday, but my body is giving clear signals that something is not well. I feel very tired, weak and deep down that something is off. Also another Christmas childless.

Two amazing doctors have different theories, neither of which is consoling: My local holy doctor thinks it might be that I still have remains of my miscarriage in me and my body is again trying to get rid of them. He mentioned that we need to check this out ASAP.

PPVI.... well they mentioned I should have a pregnancy test on Monday if this continues and if not go again into full hormonal testing mode. More and more testing again.

If its a pregnancy.... An ectopic pregnancy? such heavy bleeding during the 1st trimester is not a good sign. At all.

Being me I already tested and its negative, yet my heart of course is worried and hopeful at the same time.


"Hear me and understand well, my son the least, that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health?"

And I need to graduate to become a practioner and with so many health crisis in the last months I am way behind in reporting things. I basically need to do 2 months of work next week. So I am seeing clients during the weekend and all next week and will need to work nights to graduate.


"know, my little dear, that I will reward your solicitude and effort and fatigue spent of my behalf"

Work done for God always, always bears fruit. Do I truly live this way?

And last:

" Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything"

So today when I am frigthened, weak and sad I repeat Her words over and over again and know that She is with me. With us

Friday, December 10, 2010

Prayers please =(


I need your prayers please for strenght. My poor prayer buddy is having a difficult case!

Since yesterday I have been having very, very heavy bleeding.

I had a very unsual cycle last time with a lot of variable return of peak type mucus, unusual bleeding and tons of PMS. My period started 2 days ago and yesterday I started to bleed a lot, much more than normal. I had to change pads every 2 hours or more and when I was unable I soaked right through them. I left marks on the car and in a restaurant. Horrible and embarrasing.

Since my miscarriage my cycles have gone from bad to horrible. I am so frustrated and sad.

Also I received results from all my blood work of my miscarriage: I do not have any recurrent miscarriage dangers (no factor Leiden, protein C, etc) which is great news, BUT my thyroid is again a mess. Below or way below most measurements even on medication.

I feel so utterly defeated.

This heavy bleeding has never happened to me. I called PPVI and they told me it was very limited what they could do for me long distance and if this continued to go to the ER this afternoon. I panicked.
They told me they would call back, but to be ready to speak with a local doctor ASAP.

Well it has since diminished to normal, but I feel horrible, very weak and dizzy.

I called my local amazing 83 year old Catholic ob/gyn, a saint, who told me that I will need to do an U/S on Monday to see if there are still a traces of my miscarriage. As I write this I cry, my heart breaks all over again.

I called my mom and started crying. My DH is on his way.

I do not have any strenght to go back to the same hospital where we received the news of the death of Miguel, where I had the D&C and where I had to stay 4 days due to horrible bleeding and complications.

Yet he told me its where they have the very best equipment to do the U/S and my prior tests. I will need to go.

And if they find again somehthing I do not know how I will bear it.

Why God?

All the feelings from my miscarriage have filled my heart once more. I cry like the day we were told the news.

Romantic vacation advice from a monk

Yesterday I went to Adoration and decided also to go to confession. I needed it urgently.

I went to confession with the same monk that married me. A young and holy priest, that actually lived a very succesful professional life before joining this order.

I need to clarify first that they are different variety of monks if you can explain it this way. =)

They have many of the ways of monks and are considered monks, yet lack one fundamental quiality of monks: the live in community, dress the part, have regular prayer times, do a lot of Adoration, have a weekly desert, etc yet do not have the vow of stability which is that they will stay in the same place their whole lives.

I love, love this order. Its quite new, founded by a Dominican, yet different from the Dominincans. Here is the link to their history:

Well so I am sitting in confession and start telling him what I am feeling: that my prayer life is very weak, that I am extremely tired and that I think that its a combination of grief, hormones and too many things happening at once, that I feel that there are too many things happening without clarity on what God truly wants and that in part I am starting again to feel angry at all that God has been asking of my DH and I and that being surrounded by children born from IVF or out of wedlock has become once again very very hard.

In a few words, a mess. I cry.

So I tell him I need to go on an urgent retreat to be with God. Perhaps with their contemplative sisters that have a very nice convent in the desert. I have been there twice and I have always felt so very, very happy there. To focus on prayer and silence away from the world. This Martha needs Mary time.

He looks at me and tells me:

You need to go with your husband on a romantic vacation.

I smile. My heart sings.

He tells me: you need to go with A. to a nice romantic hotel in the mountains and have couple time, love each other. Have an unusual vacation.

Go to a romantic hotel, rest, and have with plenty of time to talk, to grieve, to enjoy each other. And take the Bible and read it together and discuss what God it asking of each of you.

But make sure to have plenty of time to hear what he has to say. To love each other.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

December 9th, 1531

Today is the anniversary of 1st apparition of our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego and its also his feast day.

Today, 479 years ago, would be the start of an event that would change the history of Catholicism in the Americas.

Between today and the 12th of December Our Lady would appear 4 times in our continent leaving a message of Pure Love, Hope and Kindness, asking each of us to come to Her with our pain and all our needs and that She would comfort us, hold us in the hollow of Her mantle. .

She would leave an image of Herself, pregnant with Jesus, about to give Birth and would ask that the second most visited Catholic pilgramage site after Rome be built in Her honor.

Today this is what happened hundreds of years ago (please see what She had to say to Juan Diego)

Apparition on Tepeyac Hill

As a widower, Juan Diego walked every Saturday and Sunday to church, and on cold mornings, wore a woven cloth called a tilma, or ayate made with coarse fibers from the maguey cactus for cotton was only used by the upper class Aztec.

On Saturday morning, December 9, 1531, he reported the following: As he was walking to church, he heard the sound of birds singing on Tepeyac hill and someone calling his name. He ran up the hill, and there saw a Lady, about fourteen years of age, resembling an Aztec princess in appearance, and surrounded by light.

The Lady spoke to him in Nahuatl, his native tongue. She called him “Xocoyte,” her little son. He responded by calling her “Xocoyote,” his youngest child. The Lady asked Juan Diego to tell the bishop of Mexico, a Franciscan named Juan de Zumárraga, that she wanted a “teocalli,” a shrine, to be built on the spot where she stood, in her honor, where:

"I will demonstrate, I will exhibit, I will give all my love, my compassion, my help and my protection to the people. I am your merciful mother, the merciful mother of all of you who live united in this land, and of all mankind, of all those who love me , of those who cry to me, of those who seek me, of those who have confidence in me. Here I will hear their weeping, their sorrow and will remedy and alleviate all their multiple sufferings, necessities and misfortunes."

Recognizing the Lady as the Virgin Mary, Juan Diego went to the bishop as instructed, but the Spanish bishop, Fray Juan de Zumárraga was doubtful and told Juan Diego he needed a sign. Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac hill and explained to the Lady that the bishop did not believe him. He implored the Lady to use another messenger, insisting he was not worthy. The Lady however insisted that it was of the utmost importance that it be Diego speaking to the bishop on her behalf. On Sunday, Juan Diego did as the Lady directed, but again the bishop asked for a sign. Later that day, the Lady promised Juan Diego she would give him a sign the following day.

Saint Juan Diego was a very pius man that had been married, but did not have children and was a widower when the Virgin appeared to him. He spoke with the Virgin in his own indian language, nahuatl, a language still spoken by hundreds of thousands of Mexicans.

Juan Diego was born in 1474 with the name "Cuauhtlatoatzin" ("the talking eagle") in Cuautlitlán, today part of Mexico City, Mexico. He was a gifted member of the Chichimeca people, one of the more culturally advanced groups living in the Anáhuac Valley.

When he was 50 years old he was baptized by a Franciscan priest, Fr Peter da Gand, one of the first Franciscan missionaries. On December 9, 1531, when Juan Diego was on his way to morning Mass, the Blessed Mother appeared to him on Tepeyac Hill, the outskirts of what is now Mexico City. She asked him to go to the Bishop and to request in her name that a shrine be built at Tepeyac, where she promised to pour out her grace upon those who invoked her. The Bishop, who did not believe Juan Diego, asked for a sign to prove that the apparition was true. On 12 December, Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac. Here, the Blessed Mother told him to climb the hill and to pick the flowers that he would find in bloom. He obeyed, and although it was winter time, he found roses flowering. He gathered the flowers and took them to Our Lady who carefully placed them in his mantle and told him to take them to the Bishop as "proof". When he opened his mantle, the flowers fell on the ground and there remained impressed, in place of the flowers, an image of the Blessed Mother, the apparition at Tepeyac.

With the Bishop's permission, Juan Diego lived the rest of his life as a hermit in a small hut near the chapel where the miraculous image was placed for veneration. Here he cared for the church and the first pilgrims who came to pray to the Mother of Jesus.

Much deeper than the "exterior grace" of having been "chosen" as Our Lady's "messenger", Juan Diego received the grace of interior enlightenment and from that moment, he began a life dedicated to prayer and the practice of virtue and boundless love of God and neighbour.

He died in 1548 and was buried in the first chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe. He was beatified on May 6, 1990 by Pope John Paul II in the Basilica of Santa Maria di Guadalupe, Mexico City.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Baby-keys, husbands and grief

Monday we had our 4th sesion in the adoption course. The subject was grief.

The session was very, very emotional and we are still feeling the aftermaths 3 days later.

They gave us time to discuss what we were feeling with our DH´s as a couple, write a letter pouring all our feelings on what we had felt and were feeling regarding losing babies, losing the possibility of biological children and the lack of control over everything.

My DH had a heart to heart talk during this time that was very eye opening and that continued the last two nights.

He: the strong in faith, the silent one, my Mary counter to my Marthaness, the very deep Carmelite in spirituality, the always positive, my rock, is still hurting.


He told me he was still grieving that he would not have a child that looked like me and the loss of Miguel. He did not want to tell me as not to worry me, hurt me.

He had always had dreamt of a baby girl that was just like his wife, me. Blond, blue eyed and very, very pale. He did not know why, but in his heart he always felt that this would be our first born. He had always felt very sure of this.

then came the loss of Miguel and he felt, like me that it was a boy. And we named it after the Archangel.

Still the dream of this little girl persisted in his heart.

This was the hardest for him. That somehow this dream that he felt so sure of had been shattered. He felt he could love any child as much as he would love this little girl in his dreams, yet it was hard to face the fact that this dream was only a dream.

He did not understand why we had been given this cross, having done everything right in the eyes of God. We had not had sex before marriage (both virgins that married very late in life), used NFP right from the beginning and done all treatments in the light of Church teaching.

In both of our families we are the ones that everybody expected to be the best parents. Both sets of our parents have suffered right along us this path.

Yet we were surrounded by IVF babies, children conceived out of wedlock and couples that just went off the Pill and had gotten pregnant the very next cycle.

He then began to tell me he loved me very much and was very sad not being able to give me children (we have both male and female factors, yet he feels that his side is the main contributing factor).

That he felt regrets having married me so late (it took him 3 years to make the decision since he did not feel financially ready, I was ready year one) and that he still felt that his heart was still broken over our loss of Miguel, our 9 week old baby, three months ago.

He feels very excited about adoption and his heart is very open to it, yet its very hard for him to let go of this dream. He feels torn.

My heart has been aching so very much for him. I do not want to see him suffer.

He is such a very holy and good person. Amazing with children, his godchilden and nices and nephews and has a faith that I would love our own children to have.

At the end of the course we were given a task for the next weeks when the course will be on recess.

We were given a key. A key that symolizes a baby with a set of instructions.

We need to take care of this key in the coming weeks as if it were a baby. We need to return it in January all dressed up and during the next weeks not leave it alone.

I found my DH last night in the TV room. Left of him I saw my favourite blanket and since it has been very cold so I wanted to use it. He said no.

The key was wrapped in the blanket. He said he was taking care of the key, our baby.

Then at night he wrapped again the key in a warm blanket next to us. He spoke to it in soothing words telling the key good night, to behave well and that he would take good care of it. that he loved it very very much.

It broke my heart.

Why does this amazing man have to suffer so much?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

My fathers Christmas

My Christmas has always been unsual in a country where there are very strong traditions from Spain brought by the missionaries.

For example we have posadas (9 days of feasts before Christmas where we sing in respresentation of St.Joseph asking with Mary for a place to stay). An amazing tradition. We have piñatas in the Posadas and we always, always even in the most humble houses we have Christmas mangers. Beautiful ones.

Its a very social Christmas, with many reunions, bright lights and very, very large families.

We eat Cod for Christmas or Turkey and some candies from Spain and sing villancicos (Christmas songs from Spain)

Yet this is not my Christmas in my heart. My Christmas is my father´s. A very German Christmas. With only my closest familiy with a lot of silence

My father is German. Born there from a German father and a Mexican/German mother in the middle of Germany right at the beginning of WWII.

My grandma had gone to Germany to study and work with some of her siblings and fell in love and soon after got married without permission.

She came back to Mexico after the 2nd WW with 5 children born there and three more would follow. Since she was Mexican Mexico has a law that protects first and foremost the children born from Mexican women so they were accepted in the country as refugees.

My father is quite reserved, a convert, that learned Spanish when he was 8. Right now he can either pass for a Mexican or a German, he is one of the few siblings that speaks German and Spanish both fluently. And when when he tries to speak English he does it with a very, very German accent which usually throws people off since they only hear him speak Spanish to us.

He lived in a country at war and came to Mexico as a refugee and touching up on the subject of his childhood can be touchy sometimes. Some of the few things he has told me is he remembers fondly the American soldiers, which took over his birth city after the surrender of Germany, with whom he exchanged the butts from smoked cigarrets and the tabacco from them in exchange for American chocolates. I cry as I write this.

My father is quiet, very reserved about his childhood. Yet his childhood is all over our lives with the best from it.

His presence is all over Christmas. A very strong presence that I would love to transmit to my own children.

A quiet presence where candles, classical music, homemade food and family are what Christmas traditions are all about.

My Christmas traditions are mainly German with some Mexican (the mangers and cod ) and American (fruitcake!!!!) thrown in there. Long story short my mom grew very close to the US, my grandpa was even born there, but never requested the nationality. Yet my mom with her Mexican and American side gave way to my Father during Christmas making our Christmas much his.

So my Christmas is very different from the one of my country. And I am so very very grateful that my mom promoted that we celebrate in the manner of my father and not her own.

So we celebrate Advent each Sunday. The part I love most about the whole Christmas season.

We get together before it darkens and sit by the Advent wreath and eat and enjoy each other companies. We listen to traditional German music and anjoy a quiet time among the busy season as a family. Just being.

We bake cookies all November. Lebkuchen, Spice cookies and buy Stollen (the German cake for Christmas) that respresents the sleeping Child. We eat Glühwein (warm wine with spices) and eat the cookies that we baked in November.

We watch the candles light the darkness and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and Advent.

So in this busy season of year end budgets, crazy Christmas shopping, parties and bright lights....

My heart only wishes for my Father´s Christmas. A quiet light in the middle of the darkness in silence.

And I wish this for my children so very much.

Friday, December 3, 2010

My life plan and why I am struggling

Recently JBTC posted about the Myer Briggs test and I decided to do it again.

It has gotten me thinking a lot and it has shaken me. I have been musing over it for the last 2 days. It kept me up awake last night.

It has made so very clear in my eyes why I am sttruggling and why am exhausted.

I have too many things in my life, no balance and my personality type is not helping.

I used to have a life plan. One where I wrote how I wanted to live my life.I was taught this by a numerary from the Opus Dei and it was an amazing tool to guide me.

I followed it a long time and my life was balanced. Purpose filled.

The life plan I did contains 7 areas in which I expressed my ideal life and my prioritites and purpose in each one. They are: Work/ professional, Family (DH, children and extended), Faith, Health, Social (Friends), Money/Financial and Cultural.

Each thing has a place and when one area overtakes the other your life becomes a mess, you focus too much on an area and lose sight of a balance.

I was never perfect and I always sttriving for balance, yet I felt more content, more in control. Like life was worth living.

Right now Work/ professional and Money/Financial have overtaken my life.

Work/professional in terms both of my full time job and also Napro and Money/Financial since the whole weight of this is on my shoulders. DH has no stable job and its seems further away than ever in the next months.

I am right now at a time where I feel overwhelmed with decisions and work and with no clear direction. And I hate it. The test told me why I have reached this point.

I am an INFJ which is called, a Protector.

The Protector got me thinking and as I read the description I was amazed how well it exemplifies what I am going through right now.

Why I have not been following my life plan. Why I feel so lost.

You have in the test several areas: If you are Introverted or extroverted. I am introverted, but slightly. I have a wide range of aquaintances, but few real friends. If I have been with tons of people a long time I need to reframe and tend to stay home and read for a few days. I need to go back to myself.

Its clear I am in need my own time and have not been giving it to myself.

I get daily calls and emails for Napro here, calls from the local practitioners even if I am not their supervisor (general advice on how to manage the daily logistics, how to fundraise, how we will develop things, etc), as I do not have an office my clients call me at all times and I meet them sometimes at home etc. I have not established clear boundaries. And its very difficult for me since I love it.

I work full time for Latin America, I am in the process to become a practitioner, I am working daily to help bring Napro here, I am in the process of adoption and I am trying to heal myself in case God wills us to get pregnant again and ....I manage a house.

All could be full time jobs. Sigh. My Protector side makes me want to say yes to everybody.

I have not respected my own need for time alone, nor rest.

But there is more that describes the state of things. The description says:

" their primary interest is in the safety and security of those they care about - their family, their circle of friends, their students, their patients, their boss, their fellow-workers, or their employees".

YEP, above onself. So I have put other priorities above my own. So my boss, employees and clients have come above everything.

" Protectors have an extraordinary sense of loyalty and responsibility in their makeup, and seem fulfilled in the degree they can shield others from the dirt and dangers of the world".

YEP and its not good when you put others above yourself. I have been doing it. My boss has been sick most of the year and I have taken over many of his tasks. i have protected him.

I have no been excercising, my diet is a joke, I have been protecting my employees way to much.

"Speculating and experimenting do not intrigue Protectors, who prefer to make do with time-honored and time-tested products and procedures rather than change to new. At work Protectors are seldom happy in situations where the rules are constantly changin"

YEP.... I am not happy. Napro has not been established here and all is open, in the air. There are no rules, no office hours, no location, no clear way how we are going to establish it here. So.....I am struggling.

"Wanting to be of service to others, Protectors find great satisfaction in assisting the downtrodden, and can deal with disability and neediness in others better than any other type. They are not as outgoing and talkative as the Provider Guardians [ESFJs], and their shyness is often misjudged as stiffness, even coldness, when in truth Protectors are warm-hearted and sympathetic, giving happily of themselves to those in need."

YEP, yes, yes, yes.... but what happens when you are tired or working through your own grief? when your thyroid is not working?

"Their reserve ought really to be seen as an expression of their sincerity and seriousness of purpose. The most diligent of all the types, Protectors are willing to work long, hard hours quietly doing all the thankless jobs that others manage to avoid"

haha.... I almost cry. I spend nights trying to work for Napro...

"Protectors are quite happy working alone; in fact, in positions of authority they may try to do everything themselves rather than direct others to get the job done."

Yep.... I am doing it with Napro.... and my office job...

"Thoroughness and frugality are also virtues for them. When Protectors undertake a task, they will complete it if humanly possible."


"To save, to put something aside against an unpredictable future, to prepare for emergencies-these are actions near and dear to the Protector's heart. For all these reasons, Protectors are frequently overworked, just as they are frequently misunderstood and undervalued. Their contributions, and also their economies, are often taken for granted, and they rarely get the gratitude they deserve"

haha! Since my DH job is still unstable I am overworking to compensate. I am saving, worrying about money, planning for the future.

I has become painfuly clear that I need to go back to basics. To put my life in order. To write down my priorites and search for the ever elusive balance.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wheat and a powerful Prayer buddy

Today I am shaken for several reasons. Its has been a very profound day.

Yesterday I was seeing weeds everywhere, but today God showed me that alonside the weeds exists wheat.

First I started the day on my way to work being hit from behind by a car and spent my morning in the hospital.

I was stuck in a small street when a girl driving a small van hit my car, also a small van. She was distracted and hit my car hard. Very hard.

My brand new car. Three weeks old.

The street had a very pronunced incline so she hit me with more force than normal, even if she was going slow. I was so very surprised that I even thought it was me who had hit a car.

I moved to the side and she came out looking so very shaken. People started honking hard and looking for a way to pass us. It was exactly rush hour.

She expected for me to come out screaming at her. She was ready to be screamed at. A normal reaction in the middle of very busy traffic.

And instead I came out touching my neck telling her not to worry. For some reason I felt truly sorry for her. I felt the need to comfort her. She was so very very worried.

My neck went back and forth during the crash and I was touching it so she was scared she had hurt me very badly and I was thinking she had.

She was a lawyer and offered to help me in any way she could. She could have excused herself, but she did not. She was truly sorry and accepted that it was fully her fault. She acted like a true lady.

She could have escaped easily and not taken responsability, or excused herself or just called the insurance company or used her lawyer ways to try to get out of a possible big mess. Yet I saw true humanity.

We built a moment of peace in the middle of a very busy and conflicting city. A city much larger than NY. The largest in the world.

The interesting thing is that everybody expected me to be very mad and for her to make excuses in order not to get sued. My brand new car and my neck were damaged by the distraction of another person.

But somehow I felt peace and the need to give it to her. And she the need to accept full responsability knowing full well as a lawyer that this would put her in a risky position. She was pure wheat.

My prayer buddy must be very powerful.

Then in the hospital I was taken for x-rays. They thought I had damaged my shoulder and my neck so they wanted to make sure what the problem was.

I was feeling very sorry for myself thinking that my DH and I had been in hospitals in and out all of last year and this due to IF treatments (2 laps and 1 varicolcele surgery), miscarriage complications (one D&C and one 4 day hospital stay) and one nose operation for my DH and 2 hospital stays for various issues. ...I counted at least 8 times in this time frame. Wow!!

It made me very sad. I felt that God was being very hard on us. Then....

As I was waiting I sat there listening to a woman speak to a doctor. She was pushing a very old man, clearly very sick in a wheelchair. They looked very poor in this very, very rich hospital.

She was explaining to the doctor that she was not a member of this man´s family and that he did not have money, nor insurance (this hospital takes in a certain % of pro bono patients), yet she was taking care of him.

She had contacted some grand nephews of the man to help out, but she had said they had told her they could not help, so she, the neighbor could not abandon him.

I was blown away. She was fighting for him to have great care without any need to.

Then they passed me and I saw this mans face. Deformed by a tumor. With an eye almost out of the socket.

I no longer felt sorry for myself.

Two moments where God was clearly present. In a crash and in a hospital.

Yesterday I was seeing only weeds. Today I saw the wheat. A woman taking full responsability and truly worried about another and a neighbor acting like a true neighbor should.