Haley Scott DeMaria

Archive for August, 2009


First of all - This past Sunday we attended church at Westminster Cathedral and the second reading was from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. How great is that! When I explained to my older son that that was where we had just visited, the reading took on a whole new meaning for him. And for me too, actually.

We are now back home after a summer abroad. It was a great experience, both for our family and for our children. So rarely do they have the opportunity to experience life outside of our small town. Yet there is something about coming home that is the best part of going away. I would not trade our summer in London for anything, yet I know that it would not be the same if we lived there. It was special, because it was unique. And being at home is special, because it is unique to our family. This is where the daily memories, routines and traditions take place. There truly is no place like it.

Yet as we return, our schedules become busier and our lives return to the chaos – and sometimes the stress – that is not unique to our family. And that too, makes us who we are.

I will be back on the blog more often now that we are home. And most importantly, I look forward to hearing from you and returning to sharing the message of my story.

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    Last week our family was on vacation and visited the ancient town of Epheses. While Turkey was not – what I thought – would be the highlight of my trip, I was once again reminded that we need to be open to whatever path our life takes. We were on a cruise in the Mediterranean and decided to take a half-day trip to Turkey instead of staying on board and letting the kids swim (which was the more appealing thought, rather than trapse a 5- and 7-year-old through ancient ruins). For had I bypassed the town of Kusadasi, Turkey, I would have missed an amazing and moving experience.

    Our first stop was a mountain top home site where the Blessed Mother, Mary, was reported to have lived after the Crucifixion of Christ. Wow. That alone was worth the trip. The home is a replication of the actual house in which she lived and died. And the area itself has become a bit of a shrine to Our Lady. Thankfully, however, it has not become commercial or touristy-tacky. It remains a holy and serene place. After walking through Mary’s modest home, my 7-year-old commented, “That’s a pretty neat house!” I thought so, but I was touched to know that he understood the significance as well.

    Our next stop was the ancient town of Epheses, which I will admit I did not understand the significance until we were about 1/3 the way through our audio tour. The site of the town – over 2000 years old, but with well-intact ruins – is about two miles long, with original cobble stone (marble, actually) roads. As we were looking at the 24,000-seat stone arena, I listened to how St. Paul preached here… to the Ephesians. Then it dawned on me: This is the location where Paul read his letter to the Ephesians! We were walking through a truly historical city, one that was visited by future saints, popes, Antony and Cleopatra, and probably the Blessed Mother. As I leaned down to my 5-year-old to tell him that perhaps Jesus too had walked these streets, he replied, “Mom can we visit where Jesus lived?”
    Again, I was touched by his thoughtfulness and was reminded to never underestimate the inquiring mind of a child. Just as I should never underestimate the path down which my life will travel. It is a journey I continue to enjoy and from which I continue to learn.

    I am still reflecting on and processing this most holy place, and feel blessed to have had this time there with my family.

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    Almost five years ago to the day, we met Mr. Stephen – called that by our boys as a sign of respect for what Stephen was about to do: enter into a life at the Naval Academy and service to our country. Mr. Stephen was the first plebe we sponsored when we moved to Annapolis.

    Over the next four years he slept on our couch, ate everything I cooked (and loved it – and I loved him for it!), played with our boys and watched them grow from toddlers to schoolboys. My children adore Mr. Stephen. We all do.

    In short, Mr. Stephen became part of our family – eventually spending weekends, weeks and a month with us while on leave or vacations from the Academy.

    During this time we also had the privilege to spend time with his girlfriend, Megan when she came to visit and stay with us. I will never forget when Mr. Stephen walked in our house and showed me the ring he had purchased for her. And again when he graduated – was commissioned – and left for flight school in Pensacola.

    Mr. Stephen is who I want my children to be: honest, caring, genuine, thoughtful and committed to all he chooses to do. And this weekend we had the honor of sharing in the joy of watching the greatest commitment of all: Mr. Stephen and Megan getting married. Their ceremony was one of pure joy and devotion. It was real and meaningful, and when they pledged themselves to each other in God’s name, they meant it. It was a beautiful and moving ceremony to witness.

    It was also a time for reflection: on family and values, on love and on the meaningful people who enter our lives. And that was a beautiful thing as well.

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