About Helen

{Welcome}

Hi! I’m Helen! If you managed to read your way over here from another blog or link, I am so glad that you did.  Grab a cup of coffee and read on as I take you on a short ride through my life… buckle up because it’s full of honesty and vulnerability! 
Note: Over time, I will link to fuller more detailed ‘life stories’, which you will see highlighted throughout here!
Me and The Chief at our first Marine Corps Ball!
Graceful Living Blog started in 2011 and has evolved over time from a way to keep in touch with faraway family and friends to a more purposeful sharing of my and my family’s walk with the Lord.
Over time in my walk with the Lord, I have discovered intimately that nestled some place between our soul and life is where God’s grace resides; a place where the daily journey to find Him beckons behind beauty, truth, and goodness.
{Me and a Blog}
I decided to take my Blog to a deeper level mainly for two reasons:
First, I have a passion for writing, talking, chatting, storytelling, arguing, and debating.  Nowadays, they call all that one word…Blogging.  Makes us a perfect fit!Second, I also have a passion for sharing, encouraging, witnessing, motivating, and inspiring others to Jesus Christ’s call for all of us to be authentic imitators of the life he led here on earth 2000 years ago. 

My {Faith} Story 
I grew up in California, the only child of a single mother.  My upbringing was enhanced by my relationship with my Italian-Catholic grandmother and my Retired Marine Corps Sgt.Maj and Irish-Agnostic grandfather.  Both my mother and grandmother took me to Mass here and there, and on holidays.  I attended CCD and made my First Holy Communion, but once the teenage years set in, I of course became smarter than everybody…
Though enrolled, I managed to convince myself and my family that I didn’t need to make my Confirmation, and so was the beginning of my walk away from Christ and His Church…for a long time!It wasn’t until complete tragedy struck my life that I even looked for Him.  At the age of 30, I became a military widow with three children 2 and under; one of whom was born 2 days after his father died.  Though I had asurvivor’s spirit, I was grieving and coping purely on my own strength and then moving on with life on my own terms; never consulting with God those first few years.  

But looking back, God never left me even if I had.  During those tumultuous years as a widow and single-mother, I became part of young widows grief group. During one grief session, I met a woman who was pregnant with her second child and grieving for the loss of her husband at the same time.  My empathy for our similar situation made us quick friends.
But I know God ordained our friendship for more than just comfort; she became instrumental in answering my “God” questions as I sought them out for the very first time.  Her answers haunted me every night as I began to feel my life had truly been wasted for so many years.  Confusion and regret began to conflict with my strong survivor characteristics as I realized I didn’t have all the answers. 
Gold Star Wives (me right) racing at the Army 10-miler!

As my heart began to open up more and more, I was invited to attend Mass with her at Our Lady of Good Counsel, pastored by the amazing Fr. John Riccardo.  That one invitation, coupled by her gracious answers to my many questions, and her and her extended family’s life witness impacted my heart so fully that I came to God and said, “On your terms, Lord, not mine anymore!”

And on that drive home, she asked me what I thought!  I cried hysterically and muttered, “I feel like I’m home. Where have I been all these years?”  Months later, she sponsored me back into the Catholic church as I made my first confession in 20 years and then was Confirmed at The Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Detroit. 
 
And that my friends was 7 years ago when I found God and my true purpose in life.  Happily, both my friend and I have remarried, but more importantly, I have never been more fulfilled, grateful, or joyous walking with our Lord on His terms.

{Me and a Blog, Again!}
“We cannot keep to ourselves the words of eternal life given to us in our encounter with Jesus Christ: they are meant for everyone, for every man and woman. … It is our responsibility to pass on what, by God’s grace, we ourselves have received.”
– Pope Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini, 2010
 My{Family}Blessings
So several years after my reversion to the Catholic faith, I encountered God in an even more specific way… He gave me peace about finding love again while sponsoring my best friend into the Catholic Church (just paying it forward in truth Winking smile 
During her Easter Vigil reception in 2009, I
gave Him all my hopes, desires, and concerns regarding dating again and he answered in the most extraordinary of circumstances and pretty much on cue.
 My husband was studying at the seminary when we me, and he came into our lives as a mentor just weeks after I prayed for him.  While playing football, doing magic tricks, and teaching my growing children about the Saints, it became obvious that our friendship and his mentorship was so much more. We were falling in love…all of us!
After leaving the seminary, he entered into the Marine Corps Reserves; and after going through OCS (Bootcamp for Officers), we were married.  The joy, the gratitude, and the fulfillment I had marrying a man of such virtue and faith in the Catholic Church with their blessing was beyond words.  To see my children have a Daddy for the first time since theirs died, still, is a constant reminder of God’s goodness and divine plan for families. 
{Our Lives Now}
Well, we now live in Virginia and are welcoming our third child together, taking the grand total to 6. ‘The Chief’ as I call him, is a police officer fulltime when he’s not leading his little Marines at home or his big Marines a far ; ) We are currently seeking full adoption for him for the oldest three and feel so much peace and love about it.
We love to have fun together, pray together and stay active together.  We are most passionate though about raising our children in the Lord.  As such we have felt called to homeschool and to Catholic school, but are constantly praying and discerning God’s will every step of the way.
 
Please pray for us as we pray for you!