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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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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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Dear Cardinal Kasper – What Remarriage Really Says to the Divorced

October 25, AD2015 8 Comments
Dear Cardinal Kasper – What Remarriage Really Says to the Divorced

Dear Cardinal Kasper, There’s something I don’t think you understand about the whole divorce, remarriage without an annulment,  and receiving the Eucharist thing. There are many who say you want to change Church doctrine. I am hoping there is less to it than that. I am hoping you are a man, human as we all […]

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The Synod on the Family – Hope of a Divorcee

September 26, AD2015 12 Comments
The Synod on the Family – Hope of a Divorcee

Pope Francis is in the United States, and the country is abuzz with excitement. The Catholic school where I teach is sending a group to Philadelphia to see him; every nearby parish has been given tickets to welcome the Pope, and winners of those otteries have been announced. It wasn’t that long ago that my husband, […]

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14 Ways to Help Your Child Maintain Catholic Faith in College

August 30, AD2015 3 Comments
14 Ways to Help Your Child Maintain Catholic Faith in College

No doubt college is an exciting and dangerous time, a time of independence mixed with heavy doses of temptation, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be a time of spiritual growth as well. As we send our children off to college, it is important to remember the influence we still have over them and to encourage them […]

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Threats to Catholicism on College Campuses

August 29, AD2015 40 Comments
Threats to Catholicism on College Campuses

I was angry, but not as angry as I should have been. I was kind of curious, too: What would she say? How could the speaker justify her actions? How could my Catholic university justify its actions?” I sat in the classroom listening to the woman from Planned Parenthood and wondered again why my Catholic university had allowed this […]

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How Can We Change Modern Media?

August 1, AD2015 10 Comments
How Can We Change Modern Media?

We spend a lot of time complaining about the lack of quality on television, in song lyrics, in literature, and in movies. Sitcoms make fatherhood look foolish. Songs objectify women. Books make premarital sex the norm and vampires look cool, and what has become mainstream movies make sexual, physical, and emotional abuse look exciting. How backwards […]

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