Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mother's Day without my Mom

Celebrating Mother’s day for the first time without your mother is hard. I remember as a young girl saving up my money and riding my bike down to the old M and R Drug store to pick mom out a gift for her birthday and mother’s day, which are just days apart. I often bought her a little figurine, wanting to buy her something beautiful, on my limited budget and not knowing what else to get her. She kept those little trinkets that I bought her, for all these years. She kept everything like that, because  it had value to her. A couple of months before she died, she asked if I wanted something that my son Chris had made for her. It was some kind of paper helmet that he had made 10+ years before. She couldn’t bring herself to throw it out because he had made it with love for her. Of course I didn’t want it. If its not useful, throw it out is my mantra. But, I greatly appreciated her sense of value in the little things. I can’t count the times I called her because I needed information; a phone number or address that I hadn’t kept.  But, she had it and knew right where it was. She always shared it graciously, never chastising me for not keeping track of the information I sought.

Though Dad did the cooking, Mom made this waffle for Annie.
Doing moms hair, our weekly routine

Mother’s simplicity kept me grounded through the years. When I wasn't going to finish college, she called and made an appointment for me to sign up for beauty school.  I fought her at first, but finally relented and went on to complete the program. I am still licensed and though not working, doing my husband’s and 8 kids hair for all these years, has saved us a bundle. Plus, doing mom’s hair every week, gave me an opportunity to make great memories with her.Many of the most important decisions of my life, I made with her guidance.

It was my mom who gave me the good counsel to stay with my husband, when I thought of leaving him in the early years of our marriage.  She offered to babysit while we got the help that we needed. Around the same time, I almost left my Catholic Faith, she steered me back on track.

Mike and I stayed in town after we got married to be close to family. Family parties were commonplace. I always looked forward to celebrating the mother’s day / birthday combo with mom. It was a yearly event to have her and dad over for dinner on the eve of Mother’s Day after Saturday night Mass.  These last couple of years, when getting out was hard for her, we moved to delivering the party, often along with rhubarb crisp, one of her favorites.
I planted flowers in her window box this week, which had become part of my traditional gift for her. This time it was a gift to myself, in her memory. It was hard to look at the empty window box when I visited, knowing how much she loved getting her flowers every year.

 I love my Mom, and I cherish her memory.  My life will never be the same without her, but, I am so thankful for all of the time that I had with her. I know that none of us are meant to live here forever; my grief is a great reminder of that. If we lived everyday with our navigation set for heaven, the world would be a better place for everyone.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom! I will love you and miss you forever! I’m sure the flowers you are seeing are prettier anyway.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Remembering you

I'll remember you always! 

I remember working in the pro-life booth at the fair, along with my husband, on one beautiful summer evening in the mid 1990's. It was our annual date night, out at the fair and we always spent it in this booth. Grandma was watching the kids and we were enjoying our time out together. It was usually without incident, but on this night, an angry man approached the counter. "What have you ever done for a child that needed help", he barked at us. "Well, we have been open to life and cared for all of the children that God has sent us”, we quickly replied. He argued with us for awhile, as he was clearly on the other side of the issue, until we peacefully agreed to disagree. But, I left there that night questioning myself; "would I, could I, take in a child that wasn't mine and love them as if they were"? I had never thought about it before. 

Years passed and friends of ours, with three children of their own, were fostering to adopt. I chided with my friend, letting him know that while adoption was great for them, I had 6 kids at home and wouldn't be adopting anytime soon. I was joking around, so his solemn reply was startling. He said in a somber and serious tone, "but they need solid families, like yours, to take these kids in”.

I remembered the man from years before and the questions that surfaced that night, were spinning in my head again. I prayed about it, for the very first time and talked to my husband. We decided to proceed cautiously. We asked God to block our path if we should not be walking this way. There were obstacles, but, nothing we could not step around or over. Through this experience, God gave us a son, whom we love dearly, and every bit as much, as our other 4 sons. It was worth every struggle to have him in our family. We "took him and ran", as I like to say. After his adoption, we stopped doing foster care. We had another little girl in the middle of it all, and so our total was now 8.

 Our kids grew up and soon we had half of our kids out of the house and grandchildren soon came. After many years of seeing our grand babies several times a week, and spending lots of special time with them, we were brokenhearted to learn that they were moving to Texas, for a job. They were hoping to come back this way, but it would be several years. After a year had passed, we prayerfully decided to do short term foster care, until our grand-kids moved back home.

I took on the nickname "Momma-Terri" to the 8 kids that we have had in our care over the last 2 years. We had one little girl for only 1 day and several children for 6 months. Some were here for 2 or 3 months. We had two little twins (that just left us), for a little more than a year. All of them, have left their mark on our hearts. We will always remember them, care about them and hold them up in prayer. It is a difficult thing being "Momma" to little children, and then have to say goodbye to them, especially after a year... A YEAR! That is a long time to take care of a child, like they are your own and then say goodbye, knowing full well, that you probably will never see them again! This isn't like babysitting. They don't go home for nights and holidays. We had these little twins for more than 1/3 of their lives (not so much of an impressive fraction in mine.) We have celebrated 2 Easters with them, Christmas, their birthdays and every other holiday of the year.  I couldn't post their pictures on facebook or instagram or tell about all of the cute things they have done or said, because of privacy issues. But, I often had wished that I could.

It is hard to imagine the heartbreak that foster children endure. To be ripped from your home, no matter how broken, and put with strangers, would be a scary thing for anyone. They got their family back when they moved home, but they lost one in us, too. They left behind foster parents, siblings, extended foster family and friends. We sent their clothes, toys and bikes, but, they left behind the dog that they cherished, the cat, rabbit, hamster, chickens and duck that they loved. They will have a hard time readjusting and will miss us, as we will miss them! 

Despite all of the heartache and struggle, given the same circumstances, I would do it all over again. We saw them blossom and grow with affirmation and boundaries. They learned to be compassionate with love and compassion shown to them. We saw them learn to trust with time and consistency. And, we also learned from them. We learned to be thankful for all that we have and for our family.

Our kids and grandkids have moved back to town so we won’t be taking any more children in. It is the end of an era for us, but we will always remember them, with love. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Abortion Law... by: Terri Neal

 Abortion laws are changing in several states throughout the country and it  does make one wonder; what exactly are the laws governing abortion today? In  1973 in the Roe vs. Wade Supreme court case, it was decided that states may enforce restrictions on abortions after fetal viability has been  determined to preserve the life or “health” of the woman. “Health” is defined as both emotional and physical. In 1992 in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, Roe vs Wade was revisited. It was upheld that states could not ban abortion before the point of viability and, that no state could ban abortions that help preserve the life or health of the mother.  It did give leeway in allowing the states to pass laws protecting the life and health of the fetus or mother past viability. With Roe vs Wade the federal government has  mandated  abortion to be legal in any circumstance before the point of “viability”. This viability has always been viewed as being around 22-24 weeks gestation.  In  2010, Nebraska passed an abortion law that banned abortions after 20 weeks. Since that time, 12 states have done so. Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas and North Dakota have all made recent headlines passing laws that limit abortions in their states.  Virginia is expected to join the list. North Dakota and Arkansas with their recent news breaking abortion laws, have redefined “viability” marking it with the presence of a fetal heart beat instead of the traditional 22-24  week gestation. Thus, North Dakota now has the strictest abortion laws in the nation, making abortion illegal after the 6th week of gestation. This will surely test the states limits against the Roe vs Wade decision and will most likely end up in court.  In Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback pledged to sign a bill declaring that life begins at fertilization. The law will eliminate tax breaks for abortionists and forbid abortions done to select a particular gender. Other state laws regarding abortion are also happening around the nation. Both Alabama and Mississippi have passed “safety laws “ for abortion clinics which would require them to conform to new guidelines. This means the state's abortion clinics would have to remodel to increase the sizes of rooms and doorways in order to comply with the safety guidelines. This law will also require abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals in order to perform abortions. This will put a burden on abortion clinics in those states and according to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, this measure "has been endorsed by pro-life groups across America." One of the few federal laws enacted since Roe vs. Wade  was the Partial Birth Abortion Ban of 2003. It was upheld as law by the Supreme Court when disputed in 2007.  Every state has its own  laws governing abortion but federal law trumps state law. There are 6 states where abortion would be completely illegal if Roe vs. Wade were overturned. The states do have some decisive power regarding abortion. 39 states require an abortion to be performed by a licensed physician. 20 states require that abortions be performed in a hospital after viability.19 states have laws in effect that prohibit “partial-birth” abortion. 46 states allow individual health care providers to refuse to participate in an abortion. 43 states allow institutions to refuse to perform abortions. 17 states require that women be given counseling before an abortion that includes information on at least one of the following: the  link between abortion and breast cancer (5 states), the ability of a fetus to feel pain (12 states) or long-term mental health concerns for the woman (8 states). 26 states require a woman to wait 24 hours from her first trip to a clinic to have an abortion.38 states require some type of parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion. 22 states require atleast one parent to give permission for a minor to have an abortion. Washington is one of the most liberal states in regards to its laws on abortion. It is the only state to have legalized abortion through a popular vote, having done so in 1970 before the Roe vs. Wade decision. It is looking like it may be the first state with an insurance mandate for abortion coverage. There are no state restrictions on abortion in WA. state .

Information taken from:,,,, and

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

National Education Contest

Grades 4-12

Deadline Feb. 14th


ART ~ ESSAY ~ POETRY               





See attached forms for entering and directions.
 For more information call Christina at: 301-3400