Me ChildhoodAs a child, I was a dreamer with a bad habit of writing run-on sentences and an overbite (dental occlusion, if you prefer). I had to wear an orthodontic appliance at night. (Thanks to my British ancestry–oh, bugger!) The orthodontic appliance did nothing to improve my third grade writing, either. It’s a good thing that the Croatian side of the family gave me a hearty sense of humor and a love of gardening. From a French great-grandfather, I inherited a palate for red wine. My love of cashews comes from my mom. But my appreciation of Shakespeare, is entirely my father’s influence. Growing up in a Catholic family, my five siblings and I ate a lot of spaghetti, and found many playful uses for large cardboard boxes.

So, how does a bookish girl with broken dreams become a social science data hoarder, writer, maternal health advocate, and bioethicist-in-the-making, after declining her seat in law school? By the grace of God. Here is my story.

Our story matters to God. Life is a journey of grace and receptivity, and hope in affliction. Many people have survived childhood pain and family trauma. The author of life helps us to write a happy ending.

The joys and sorrows of family life can help us grow in virtue and attain true happiness. When family life and marriage are wounded, we enjoy less than God’s best for us. God’s merciful love comes to each and every one of us, in surprising ways. We can live the happy ending, now. “Do not be afraid,” to rejoice. Or, to cook a lot of spaghetti. (Serving red wine is recommended, if you are among great friends.) Never mind the garlic breath. The breath of life is more powerful. Good food and good will foster hope and healing.

They meet with joy and gladness, sorrow and mourning flee away. (Isaiah 35:10)