Posts Tagged ‘Family’

Just under five months ago, I asked Casey to marry me.
That’s going to happen today.
Almost immediately after I proposed, we talked about how we didn’t want to wait too long and that we were ready to be married to one another.
We just didn’t realize how quickly five months would go by.
Even up to today, we’re making last minute adjustments and prep. No matter what’s ready, we are crossing the finish line together by 5:30. We’ve come to realize that today isn’t the finish line, however. It is the start of the longest, most life-giving marathon there is: marriage. Along the way, we know there will be faith, family and friends with figurative water cups to help nourish and sustain us. We will never be thirsty without those things in our lives.
I know one thing: I am emotional as I type this. As a boy, I dreamed that I would marry a sweet and smart woman who brought me joy, made me laugh and made me better. As a man, I will stand in front of the altar and know I’ve found her and much, much more.
I will aim to be her equal.
A look at Cassandra Michele Anderson puts the world in perspective. All of its possibilities come into focus.
I don’t know where life is going after today, but I go into the unknown with great joy, anticipation and humility.
This blog will continue beyond today and become our marriage and family blog.
When I proposed, I asked Casey if she would be interested in doing a blog with me. As a professional writer, this was a natural outlet for me, but I figured Casey could use it as a teaching tool for the teenagers she works with. They would see the Sacrament of Marriage is something truly special. I may be the writer, but Casey is this blog’s best contributor and I learn something each time I read her musings. She makes me laugh and think at the same time.
Thanks to you, the reader, who has followed along. You’ve contributed so much to our journey and we hope you continue with us.
The journey is only starting. Bring the water cups.


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This past weekend, Matt’s family threw me a beautiful Bridal Shower, co-hosted by his mom and sister.  Aunts, cousins, and dear friends gathered for delicious food, warm hospitality, and quality family time.  Everyone’s gift-giving generosity was positively amazing, and I am grateful for the abundant blessings of such supportive community.

Mom and little M. helping with the gifts

The biggest hit of the party, though, was an awesome cake that Elizabeth baked for us, in the shape of a Peanutbutter & Jelly sandwich!  The meanings behind the cake were layered — first, it was a nudge and a wink at Matt, who is a picky eater with, shall we say, an unsophisticated palate.  One of his lifetime favorite foods is PB & J.

E. and the PB&J Masterpiece

More poignant, though, was Elizabeth’s re-telling of the metaphor she had heard about marriage being like a peanutbutter & jelly sandwich.  A priest had once told her that if a marriage relationship was like peanutbutter & jelly (assuming Matt is the PB and I’m the J), the bread that holds the sandwich together and makes it whole is the Bread of God — Jesus Christ.  In a sacramental marriage, Jesus is an important third party included in the relationship…  if the Bread (of God) is left out of the recipe, all you are left with is a gooey, sticky, mess.  If that ain’t the truth!

practicing for cake-cutting on the big day!

The whole shower was a cheerful testament to the love and support that surround Matt and I as we prepare for our future…  but no one will soon forget the delicious lesson in the Peanutbutter & Jelly Sandwich cake!  Thanks, future sister-in-law!




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Ever been to an Irish wake?  It’s exhausuting.
This week has offered Matt and I an unexpected lesson in “familyhood”:  comforting one another through times of sorrow.  On September 23, our world was rocked off its axis when my younger cousin was killed in a motorcycle crash.  The following days have been a blurry roller-coaster of emotion as my Irish Catholic family (dozens of aunts, uncles, and cousins) have gathered from near and far to honor his memory … and to grieve together as a family community.  It has been a hellish string of days, and the only comfort we can take is in knowing that we are not alone in our pain.
When there are no words that can express the sorrow, and no actions that will heal the rawness of our grief, we can only support one another by being there. But when the loss is so sudden and unexpected, even the simple ministry of presence requires an extraordinary amount of effort…  and our family members have astounded me by their unhesitating willingness to take days off from work, to travel for hours driving and flying from across the country, to detour around several states so that my grandfather has a ride to the viewing (and back home to New Jersey again), and then to arrive at the doorstep armed with food, beverage, and extra towels.  In the sudden moment of crisis, we put into action the values on which we have been raised.  Without complaint or a second thought, we are there for one another.
As a future family member, Matt has followed suit without missing a beat.  Although we’re three months away from Matt’s taking the vows to become an “official” member of the O’Sullivan clan to which I belong, he bravely stepped into position at my side this week.  While I kept busy helping my mom prepare the house to host countless out of town visitors, Matt kept busy running errands for us, being ready with a box of tissues or a hand to hold.  Without any instruction or explanation, he had an instinct that told him where I needed him to be.  By my side. Even on the bad days.  Especially on the bad days.


For more information about my cousin Conor, here’s his obituary.


Peace,  Casey

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1 + 1 = family

It’s funny the way our society and culture shapes our ideas.

Back in August when Matt was with a prayer group, describing his hopes and prayers for our future, he used a particular phrase, something along the lines of, “I pray that God blesses us as we begin as a new family”… and someone immediately responded, “How exciting! When is the baby due?”  It made for a funny mis-understanding, careful-what-you-say-people-will-assume type of anecdote, but it also made me wonder, how many people would as easily jump to that conclusion?  The standard definition of family in most people’s mind automatically includes parents and children.  But what does that mean for a childless married couple?  Are they really any less of a family, without the blessing of a baby? No way!

From the moment they say “I do” on their wedding day, a married couple is a family already — no children required. Yes, of course most couples will want children to become a part of their new family, and Catholic couples pledge to welcome children during their vows… but they are not waiting for those babies to be an official family.  God takes care of that as soon as the bride and groom are united in matrimony.

One of the many gems we heard on our Engaged Encounter retreat last weekend was this concept about marriage and family.  The presenters noted was that within the sacrament of marriage, the bride and groom become each other’s primary team, and that they are unified as a family. This is Matt’s and my philosophy as well.  When we exchange rings and vows, our personal definition of our families will change, and although I will always be a member of the Anderson family, I will always be my parents’ daughter… my immediate family will become Matt.  On December 30, our new family will begin as soon as we walk down the aisle!

So you know that misguided definition of a family needing at least three people?  I blame the verse about it from my favorite Schoolhouse Rock song…. (starting at 1:13 in the video)

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