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Author Archive: Strahlen Smith

Strahlen is a single mom of five boys. The fifth little guy was a surprise pregnancy and her husband left suddenly in the middle of it for a woman he met on Facebook. The next few years would bring financial, emotional, and spiritual challenges beyond her imagining, but they would also bring a faith she never knew existed.

Strahlen is now a life coach working with women in transition and hopes to reach out to other divorced Catholics to let them know there is Hope and Love in the Catholic church.

Today, she and her five sons work hard for everything that comes their way, but they are also successful, happy, and faithful. They enjoy camping, sports, and (highly competitive) board games. And if you're wondering about that last little Baby Boy - He is a bundle of giggles and goofiness. He is such a gift to his mother and brothers and he constantly proves that God's plans are greater than our own! Check out more of their story at Single Mom Smiling.

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You Went to the Wedding. Now What?

July 5, AD2017 3 Comments
You Went to the Wedding. Now What?

Life is close to idyllic this time of year. Summer temperatures are not quite at their peak. Barbecues are held every weekend. School is out for many children. Teenagers work days then head to beaches for fun with friends. Families load up cars and head for adventures yet to be determined. Birds sing. Music plays. […]

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The Catholic Church CAN Help Single Parents

April 29, AD2017 10 Comments
The Catholic Church CAN Help Single Parents

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, but for many faithful Catholics the picture perfect, Hallmark version of Mother’s Day will never happen. For many single moms, Mother’s Day is another day of housework, quibbling children, stress, and exhaustion exacerbated by misplaced hopes that this Mother’s Day will be special. For faithful, abandoned single dads, Mother’s Day is […]

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Marian Consecration is Not a “Nice” Thing to Do

March 22, AD2017 18 Comments
Marian Consecration is Not a “Nice” Thing to Do

Committing myself to Jesus through Mary in Consecration seemed like a nice thing to do. Growing up in a Catholic home, I went to Mass every week because my parents dragged me. I wasn’t quite kicking and screaming, but I certainly was in need of an attitude adjustment. Years of CCD seemed uninspiring. I don’t remember what I was taught […]

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My First March for Life Showed Why Catholics Need to March

February 27, AD2017 2 Comments
My First March for Life Showed Why Catholics Need to March

At a few years short of half a century, I was the second youngest on a bus that departed before any sign of dawn’s early light. I’d joined a priest, another man, two nuns, a teenager, and a handful of older women heading to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. I’d hoped to meet people and celebrate life, but the atmosphere was quieter […]

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January Doesn’t Have to Mean Divorce

January 26, AD2017 2 Comments
January Doesn’t Have to Mean Divorce

The new year follows Advent, a time to look forward and back, and Christmas, a time to celebrate the birth of hope and love. These holy seasons are meant for joyous celebration, yet for many they are seasons of stress, sharply contrasting darkness and pain, with twinkling lights and festive merrymaking. During this period, many look to the past and […]

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Mary’s Surprise Pregnancy and Filters of Grace

December 11, AD2016 0 Comments
Mary’s Surprise Pregnancy and Filters of Grace

The second line crept slowly across the end of the stick in my hand. Pregnant. Again. I put the stick on the edge of the bathroom sink and looked in the mirror, meeting my own eyes as they stared back at me. How would I tell my husband? How would I tell others who would […]

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Should We Turn to the Government or the Church for Assistance?

November 23, AD2016 2 Comments
Should We Turn to the Government or the Church for Assistance?

I was tired, bone tired. It was a tiredness that went beyond mere physical exhaustion to conquer every thought. It pumped through my heart to deflate my entire being. This exhaustion festered in my soul, and there it sat. My toe nudged the carrier holding my sleeping son forward. His sleeping was a small blessing. It was a miracle […]

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7 Premises of Catholic Social Justice

November 7, AD2016 5 Comments
7 Premises of Catholic Social Justice

The upcoming presidential election has sparked great debate. Many feel there is no good candidate and are left wading through issues with no easy answers. Of top concern among Catholics include beliefs in the sanctity of human life at all stages, protecting law enforcement and military, strengthening national security, and caring for those in need. While issues such […]

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Voting When No Candidate Represents My Beliefs

October 11, AD2016 15 Comments
Voting When No Candidate Represents My Beliefs

This time last year, I happily watched several presidential candidates discussing values which reflected mine. Their plans for our nation had differences, but I could picture many of them being enacted and doing real good in America and in the world. My top candidates don’t usually make it past the first few months of election coverage, but this time, […]

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Sitting Out This Election?

September 10, AD2016 7 Comments
Sitting Out This Election?

This time last year I was so excited about what might happen in America during the next election and what effect that might have in the world. There was a pool of presidential candidates I liked. A few I would be absolutely thrilled to take the White House. Others I’d have just been very happy to take […]

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Welcome the School Year with Wariness & Skepticism

August 10, AD2016 7 Comments
Welcome the School Year with Wariness & Skepticism

I write this while enjoying a week on a lake in southern Maine. It’s the same place we’ve gone for our annual family reunion for over 30 years. Here, it seems the sun is always shining. The weather is always warm. The kids are always off playing games, competing with their uncles, and laughing with their […]

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I’m Cutting Up Amoris Laetitia

July 10, AD2016 2 Comments
I’m Cutting Up Amoris Laetitia

“Hey guys, I’ve got this great idea for a family project. We can work on it together this summer!” “Really Mom?” “Cool!” “What is it?” I could easily see their eager, enthusiastic little faces as I imagined how the conversation would go. “We are going to read and discuss the application of Amoris Laetitia, the 264-page […]

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See Something? Say Something.

June 6, AD2016 9 Comments
See Something? Say Something.

Ask any New Yorker, in our post 9-11 world, what “See something? Say something,” means and they’ll tell you. It’s actually a very simple idea that saves lives. See a package left unattended? Tell someone who can do something about it. See a backpack by itself on the floor of the train? Say something about it. See a […]

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You Can Help a Single Mom This Mother’s Day

May 3, AD2016 2 Comments
You Can Help a Single Mom This Mother’s Day

The first few Mother’s Days after my husband left weren’t easy. They weren’t peaceful or restful. They weren’t celebrations for the beauty that is womanhood. They weren’t shows of appreciation for the gift that is motherhood. Mother’s Day Isn’t Easy for a Single Mom Mother’s Day was tiring and stressful, just like every other day. I got up early, […]

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Amoris Laetita Helps a Single Mom

April 14, AD2016 10 Comments
Amoris Laetita Helps a Single Mom

I was disappointed with the Synod on the Family. I believe the Catholic Church had the best intentions but that it missed great opportunities to strengthen marriage and families, prevent divorce, and clarify misunderstandings. I doubt many Bishops on the Synod know what being divorced is like. I doubt many can understand what it is like to be […]

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In God We Trust & the Death of Antonin Scalia

March 19, AD2016 4 Comments
In God We Trust & the Death of Antonin Scalia

I sat in the courtroom. The papers I held in my hand dictated the inevitable. There was nothing I could do about it, and I sat watching and waiting for my turn to be called. I didn’t know it would be like this. Who could have? This is sitting in a crowded courtroom on hard benches in front of […]

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Being Pro-Life When it Isn’t Easy

March 6, AD2016 22 Comments
Being Pro-Life When it Isn’t Easy

I held the pregnancy testing stick in my hand, praying not to see the second line but I didn’t have to look down to know it would be there. I’d been here before in other surprise pregnancies; my body and heart already told me what my mind could not grasp. We’d already had our “last” child. […]

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This Valentine’s Day Pledge to Love Your Vows

February 13, AD2016 1 Comment
This Valentine’s Day Pledge to Love Your Vows

Thoughts of Valentine’s Day fills our heads with images of frilly pink hearts, chocolate covered strawberries, fluffy teddy bears, and of course, the cute bottomed cupid aiming his bow and arrow at a man and woman who, when pierced, magically, perfectly, eternally fall into blissful love. We snicker at the image of cupid and know reality […]

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Divorce: A Time for New Beginnings

December 30, AD2015 6 Comments
Divorce: A Time for New Beginnings

We think of spring as a time of new beginnings. The air warms up, the trees bud, and creatures big and small emerge from a long winter’s nap. December, on the other hand, brings the first day of winter and marks the beginning of a three-month shutdown for much of the globe. In my corner of […]

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Put Your Money Where Your Heart is This Christmas

December 10, AD2015 2 Comments
Put Your Money Where Your Heart is This Christmas

Nothing beats the scent of the deep green pine boughs, the contrasting bright red of ribbons, bows, and blooming poinsettias, and the robust love and laughter of family and friends. I love Santa Claus and the anticipation of  magic in the air, the nip of Jack Frost on a crisp, starlit night, and the glow of Rudolf’s nose. Maybe […]

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