*In a Nut Shell · *Navy Life


I used to be so sad and angry to be detached and far from the people I love, and in addition to being apart, I was alone without support of any kind of community. Don’t get me wrong, there has always been plenty of communities in the military and in the parishes, but we were always the outcasts because we had more than the standard one or two kids and were actually open to more, and it was pretty much sadly true in the parish life as well. Alot of people tolerated us because they knew it was the nicer thing to do, but we weren’t often called back. Why did God see fit to send us off on our own to places and situations that were contrary to who we are and what we believe and do our very best to live out each day?

Then, we got orders to southern Virginia via 4 months in California. Alleluia! God blessed us with a pretty much permanent family status after all those years of loneliness. 4 months in California with family and friends we’ve known for years, or our whole life!, and then back to the east coast and a short drive away from the rest of our family and some pretty amazing friends. And then it happened: God saw us nicely settled in and wham! He takes the rest of the family away. He moves Lowell’s family away from me to Pennsylvania and makes sure my hates-the-car baby won’t make a visit doable any time real soon. Why do that now, especially when I have reached the peak of needing help and support while my husband is always away from me, from us?

Recently, I was talking to one of my friends, who is really like a sister, and she asked why we weren’t able to be close to each other. She is in Nevada while her family is in Tennessee, so she is just as detached as I am, she just gets to see her man more often ;). She recently found out they are expecting their third and the news was not kindly received by the people she thought were their friends. She and I talked about how hard it is to be away from family and friends who understand and support us. It’s not that we don’t get it, but there is a dramatic difference between facebook and phone call support and the physical hands on, lets have a drink together support.

It was with that conversation that it hit me, that I found a new peace about the lot in my life. I started to think about all the little communities that are raising huge, fervent Catholic families in Southern California and even in the Bay Area, too, not to mention in Texas and northern Virginia as well. And, then I started to think about how alot of the young adults are branching out with their families, for whatever their reasons are, or sent out in their priestly and religious vocations, and are being planted in places that are nothing like we knew growing up. Now, some of us have been blessed to find great communities and friends, but some of us have been stranded without anything more than negativity. But, that’s just it! And, it is so appropriate during the current ways of our sad country today. God is forming and creating such goodness in these small, strong communities all over and has begun sending each of us out to be His beacons of light and hope. To be the example of change and restoration that is needed in our Church and in our country. As things continue to deteriorate with contraception & abortion, euthanasia, and now the [attempted] recognized union of homosexuals, people are going to start opening their eyes and looking at the people next to them. They are going to be looking at us and our peace in Christ Who leads us and will desire that same peace, (if they aren’t sneering and making rude comments about it that is). We are being sent out of our comfort zones and being called to burn brightly for Christ so that our fire will spark the dwindling fires in others lives so that we as a whole can be restored and renewed.

Now, this doesn’t make the reality of life any easier, especially when you are in the isolated clump of people, or if your husband is always called away, but to think that this is most likely the reason why we are being separated from our families and life long friends so that we can bring Christ’s love to more than our standard circles, it makes enduring it more sweet than bitter. Knowing that we may not see the fruit of our labors for Christ at this time, but that we are being examples to more people than we know or realize. That we are spreading the news of the Kingdom of God by simply being us in a world that is determined to shame us for our openness to life and our beliefs in the natural unions between one man and woman. Because, there are more and more little groups growing and their young will eventually be forced to venture out into the great unknown at some point to go through the same thing we are going through. The world might think we are fading away, but in 10, 20, 30 years, there will be a big difference in our Church attendances and other simple group gatherings, and it is because in a sense, we have begun taking over and taking it back and are giving it all to Whom it rightfully belongs: God.


7 thoughts on “Beacons

  1. You are right, Jo, and you are going to see your the effect your family has made sooner than you realize. IMO, the 3, 4, 5 kids stage is the hardest because people are still trying to think of you as normal. Tip the #s to 6, or start homeschooling, and people see you differently, start accepting who you are and not who they expect you to be. And then you start to find more people who are encouraged by your witness and when they share that, it helps so much.

    You have a great attitude!


  2. Thanks for your words, Rachel! I really look up to you alot and try to be all the amazing mom and military wife you are :). It’s true, I am such a wimp and long for that super amazing friend to drop by without any planning involved, but with this small epiphany, I feel so content in going through this now, it only took 6 years, but hey!. I will blow ‘their’ minds with homeschooling first, tipping the kid scale to 6 will happen before we know it, too! lol


  3. “The Scarlet and the Black”. Even the one who pursued eventually came to need help. Just look at the witness last week with “Chik-Fil-A”. God bless you. We love and miss you.


    1. Hi Anonymous! We actually went there when we first moved here because all of our experiences in non-latin mass communities have been…irreverant, so we didn’t want to be disappointed again and just jumped in to the FSSP community there. Now, we go there occassionally and another parish, Holy Trinity, that we found shortly after, weekly. We had a surprisngly much warmer welcome there and the pastor is just amazing! We really feel at home there, but we also enjoy a solid, Latin Mass, as well. So, when everyone’s schedules oblige, we head out to St Benedict’s. :)


  4. Thank you for sharing. This is an awesome witness. I know how you feel. We live in an area that is 96% “un-churched” which means that only 4% of the people around you even know who God is, or have ever sat in a pew. The state is also morally and socially very, very liberal. It is hard, being that “stick in the river” that will not bend or cave to trends. Even with just one child at home, I struggle with providing him with a place to worship that touches him and does not offend his sensibilities. Luckily we stumbled upon a great homeschooling community but they are so spread out, it is not like we see them very often. One of the larger families (12 kids) also participates in the Civil Air Patrol, and they also attend St. John Chrysostom, where we attend Divine Liturgy. They have a son our son’s age, so it is beginning to look like he will make a connection. We are blessed with some good, conservative, Catholic neighbors who have sons our son’s age, too. So we are blessed in many ways. Our parish is about 35 minutes away, so it makes attending quite an adventure in the precarious weather we have here! We have been desolate for months and are finally making some connections. I cling to my faith and I hold fast to Truth and I am learning to completely trust in God, no questions asked. He puts us where we need to be. And you reminded me today that I, too, am called to be a beacon! Blessings, Joanna!!


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