Please describe your faith journey and how you came to decide to record
has worked great miracles in my life! He blessed me with a fabulous husband
and six amazing sons that fill our lives with noise and frenzy matched with
unspeakable joy. I have always loved and cherished the Catholic faith and
the more time passes I realize how many of the great gifts in my life can be
attributed to this great gift of faith.
Singing and performing have always been part of my life. At family
gatherings my father would often ask my mother or me to sing for the
family. As I grew up, the whole family would sing songs from musicals and
pop radio as well as liturgical music. My father died of cancer when I was
fourteen and one of his last wishes was for me to record a country album.
Twenty two years later I was preparing to record a country album when my son
Kevin had an almost miraculous recovery from a ruptured appendix. Near the
end of Kevin’s nine days in the hospital, I went to the chapel to pray. I
so closely felt the Hand of God in this that I asked Him what I could do in
thanksgiving. God revealed that He wanted me to promote belief of the True
Presence in the Eucharist. Within a few months, I had produced our first CD
– Bread of Life, Bread of Heaven – The Story of the Eucharist for Children.
CM: Can you tell us more about the Cousins In
truly amazed at the hand of God in our ministry.
Cousins in Christ are actually double cousins – which mean they share the
same two sets of grandparents. This is because my brother and I married
siblings. My brother Bob married my husband’s sister Carol.
we recorded our first album Bread of Life Bread of Heaven, we took 10
children to Chicago and the oldest child was 11. The kids were truly
incredible, never complaining about the long recording sessions, meals on
the go, and having to keep quiet in the studio. We discovered that while
the children individually were talented, the blend of their voices was even
after Bread of Life Bread of Heaven was released, many parents and teachers
called or wrote asking for a CD on the life of Mary. We then produced My
Spirit Rejoices – The Story of Mary, Model of Love. We later collaborated
with EWTN to produce music videos of these songs, packing up and driving 20
people to Alabama to film that project.
group we’ve done many live performances – ranging from Christmas programs
for children tutored by the Missionaries of Charity to the recent Midwest
Family Conference with 4000 attendees. Individually, the children have won
many awards and contests, and our oldest son is in college now with a
scholarship for vocal performance. Our sons have appeared in over 25
episodes of Angel Force for EWTN over the past few years, promoting the
faith worldwide. Many of the Cousins are involved in local theatre, with a
strong preference for the classic Broadway musicals.
also cantor at the local parish and are requested to sing throughout the
Peoria diocese for weddings, graduations and special events. We also make
our home available for “Faith and Fun” evenings with their teen friends –
gatherings of 30 to 50 young adults who spend about 2 hours learning their
faith – followed by even more hours of party!
CM: Your latest CD, Tiny Hands precious Feet is so wonderful for
Catholic families. How did you select the songs for the CD? The
participation of the children is so special! Please tell our readers more
about the recording of this CD and why you recommend it to Catholic moms.
many years I had a great desire to put to music the beautiful teachings of
Humanae Vitae and Familiaris Consortio and remained uninspired. In January
2002 I underwent a hysterectomy. Due to the complications, the scheduled
90-minute surgery turned into a four hour surgery. After waking up from the
surgery I was in an enormous amount of pain. I asked Our Lord, “Why should I
suffer like this? Shortly afterward, a young woman in her early twenties
was wheeled into my room. She was recovering from an appendectomy. About
she phoned her husband to and confessed that she had had an abortion a month
earlier. There was nothing she could say to console him. All I could hear
was her sobbing “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” over and over. When the phone call
ended I asked her if she wanted to talk. We spent the entire night in
tears, prayer, and conversation. We talked about our families,
forgiveness, and God’s unfailing love. She said “I watched your husband and
you boys come in and affectionately kiss you on the cheek. That’s all I
ever wanted, the house, the white picket fence, and the children. Now I
know I’ll never get my baby back and I’m not even sure I’ll ever get my
husband back.” At this point I knew my pain was nothing compared to hers and
that God had showered me with bountiful blessings.
next day, I had an excruciating migraine headache. “What do you want from
me?” I asked Our Lord.
then that He gave me the words to “We give our lives to you, One More Soul”
He put into my heart a great peacefulness and appreciation for the fact that
we as human beings have the power to co-create with God. He certainly could
have done this without us, but chose the love between two people to bring
about a new life. The pain was so great that I was unable to write down the
words. I just kept repeating them in my head so I wouldn’t forget.
realized that maybe God wanted me to produce a CD to encourage mothers in
their noble task of raising tomorrow’s generation. I tried to think about
what has helped me in my last eighteen years of parenting. So
Tiny Hands, Precious Feet is really a collection of some traditional lullabies loved
by our family as well as some “spiritual boosts” for Catholic moms.
Motherhood is truly a noble task that isn’t often rewarded in society. How
could something so vital seem so unimportant—raising the future? The title
track encourages mothers to be the mothers God intended for them to be and
to follow the example of the Blessed Mother.
two oldest sons John Paul and Matthew are particularly gifted in creating
harmonies to whatever I sing, so it was very natural to have them to provide
background vocals on the CD as well as performing their own solos. I would
leave the recording studio and they would record harmonies on the spot that
I thought were amazing. Our other sons have been blessed with a great gift
to communicate as well so they provide the heart and soul of the CD with
their narration between the songs. What an amazing gift!
are some of your favorite recording artists? What types of music do you
have never seen Tony Melendez (an incredible Catholic artist) perform, you
should. He is truly amazing and inspiring. He plays the guitar with his
feet and sings beautifully. Our entire home is crazy about Josh Groban. We
enjoy many kinds of music, country, swing, pop, classical, musicals. You
name it. If it’s not offensive to Our Lord and has a good beat, someone in
our home really enjoys it. Our boys take swing dance lessons and enjoy
showing off their skills.
CM: What are your future projects?
many ideas—so little time. I pray everyday for Our Lord to show me which
ideas He would like me to follow up on. For about 3 years, I’ve been
writing a kickin’ sarcastic rock song about my husband called My Virtuous
Man. The sarcastic part is about some of the bad dates I went on that ended
within minutes because “There’s a part of me that you’ll never understand.”
The song reveals what it was like for me to finally meet such a wonderful
virtuous man. I’d like to encourage all young men to be like that wonderful
treasure God prepared for me. Many of the basic Catholic teachings have
found their way into my brain as a song or video or other kind of project.
We’ve spoken to EWTN about making more children’s music videos as well. For
now I try to balance my time so I don’t miss out on those wonderful years
with our children. I’m confident that God will reward me with opportunities
later if I am faithful to my vocation as wife and mother now.
CM: What can Catholic moms do to select
appropriate music for their families?
could write a book about how parents can influence their children in their
formative years (another project) but for now I’ll try to be brief and
Parents should never, underestimate the power of the media. The owners and
promoters of the secular media are well aware of this power and manipulate
America’s children on a regular basis. Children can be taught at a fairly
young age to discriminate between things that offend Our Lord and those
our children that things come from two places-heaven and hell and to make
quick determinations as to which is the source. When you work in the music
and video industry you quickly realize how much effort goes into these
projects. When artists record songs with offensive words they sing those
lyrics over and over again. Make no mistake about this. These bands know
what they’re singing. And they corrupt themselves and everyone who listens
your children to love what is good and wholesome and develop their
consciences to be uncomfortable to that which offends God. The best example
is for parents themselves to quickly disregard anything that isn’t wholesome
even though you might really enjoy it. Network with other parents about what
their family has enjoyed. This is how we heard about Josh Groban.
your children are young, they’re like clean slates and will enjoy your
favorite music because that’s what they’re exposed to. Our youngest son,
Isaac is three and he is one singing little dude! He sings lots of the
songs from our CDs, and he also sings songs from Les Mis, Fiddler on the
Roof, 50’s music, Josh Groban, and dozens of songs from traditional
children’s CDs. And when he sings country songs we know we have to blame it
on his environment!
support for Catholic artists is crucial. The only way to keep the momentum
going is to purchase their CDs and ask for their music on the radio. Many of
my customers have taken our music to their local Catholic stores and radio
stations who were overjoyed to have them. Tell your friends about your
favorite artists. They may not have any other opportunities to have this
www.Heartbeatrecords.com and many other distributors carry a variety of Catholic
artists. I try to purchase Catholic products for birthdays, Christmas,
teacher gifts, etc, because we know the money goes back into promoting the
What additional comments or thoughts would you like to share with our
To be a mother, what a great profession! However, some days can be so
demanding that you may feel that God is asking for more than what you are
capable of. But He always provides the grace we need for each day. Never
doubt that what you’re doing is worthwhile. We’ll soon have 4 teenagers and
I can truly say that making those difficult decisions has paid off. We are
very close to our children and after the younger children have gone to bed
we often have a late night rendezvous which leaves us all laughing so hard
we can hardly get to sleep. The strength of a happy family enriches
entire generations and has a profound impact on the community and the
May God richly bless you and all mothers.