I started out as an ordinary mom: passing my time rocking babies, washing clothes, changing diapers and facing mounds of dishes. I was a carpool mom with lipstick on. My husband, Patrick, was a physician by day, and a daddy and husband by night. Together we embraced our crazy, busy life! I loved being a mother and wife, although sometimes it was mundane. Once a year we called in the “troops,” better known as the grandparents, to relieve us so we could leave town for a well-deserved break. Did we hop on a plane escaping to an exotic Caribbean island, or climb aboard a European cruise ship to relax? No, but we were tempted. Instead we packed our bags and headed off to the yearly Catholic Medical Association (CMA) conference. Our goal was to leave behind our life as parents and go forward to a romantic getaway for the two of us, and be refreshed by the conference, which is like a spiritual retreat. As soon as I exited the door of our home, like a magic moment frozen in time, I transformed from being “Mary Poppins” into a “super model.” I left behind babies, toddlers, tweens and teens to join the adult world, happily at my husband’s side. This yearly getaway was just what the doctor ordered for parents of seven close together children.
Each trip was memorable, but one stands out. Why? Perhaps because I was not pregnant, nor carting a newborn along. I, footloose and fancy free, was able to roam about catching up with old friends and meeting some new ones. Thinking back, perhaps it was unforgettable because of who I encountered. I met a woman that I will never forget. I don’t believe in chance, but in God appointments. This incident proved my assumption true. Determined to tell her my whole life story, I, the wordy woman, began chatting without taking a breath. Finally I let her get a word in. I was so glad because her words were what God used to alter the direction of my life. This became the catalyst to set my ministry in a new direction. Our conversation went something like this, “Oh Ellen, you have so many children, and a writer and speaker too. I would like to have you be a guest speaker on a radio show that I host. If you are ever in Los Angeles, please give me a call.” I was speechless but found my voice in time to exchange phone numbers. Waving good bye, I departed not knowing if we’d meet again. Walking away I thought, “When would I, a mother of many get the opportunity to fly to the west coast?” Soon the conference ended and we headed home to Augusta, Georgia. Faster than “Mary Poppins” could say, “Supercalafragilistexpealadocious,” my romantic getaway was over and I was re -entering the real world of married with children. We could not wait to see our blessings!
Little did I know how God was going to use my vocation as mother and wife to launch my ministry in media. It began this way. My five-year-old daughter Kaitlin and I were running errands together. We happened to be at a Christian book store when I noticed a display for coloring contest. “Kaitlin,” I suggested, “Why don’t you enter it?” She agreed so we took the coloring sheet home. With crayons in hand, Kaitlin enthusiastically gave it her best artistic try. After I handed in her entry I never gave the contest a second thought. One day as I was cooking dinner the phone rang. I ran to catch the call and answered with “God bless you.” “Hello,” said the joy filled caller on the other end. This time I did not get a word in edgewise. “This is Salty the Singing Songbook. Is this Kaitlin’s mother?” “Who?” I muttered. “Salty the Singing Songbook,” he repeated. “I am calling you from Los Angeles, California. Kaitlin Mongan has won our coloring contest,” he added. Before I could stop them, the words popped out of my mouth, “Is this a prank call?” “No, actually Kaitlin has won our coloring contest. She will receive a trip for four to Los Angeles, California. This trip includes airfare, motel, rental car and Disneyland tickets. The four of you will also be my guest at my Salty the Singing Songbook concert.” I quickly jotted down the information, thanked him, said goodbye. Still in shock, I ran to tell Kaitlin the good news.
In no time we were boarding a plane to the west coast. Kaitlin and I were accompied by her sister Tarolyn, and my sister, Julie. I was astute enough to have called the lady I met at the CMA conference about being a guest on the radio show. Miraculously she was able to arrange a radio interview to coincide with our trip.
I arrived at the studio just before the live show began. I sat down confidently and prepared to speak about my life as Patrick’s wife and a mother of many. As I put on my earphones and adjusted my microphone, the light, “On Air” flashed boldly in the studio. The moment I had been waiting for had come. I was ecstatic to take my “Quantum Leap” through the air waves. I listen politely as she introduced me, as butterflies began to stir in my heart. It was not until the first question was asked that I realized I was anxious. Maybe it was the nervous laugh that spontaneously came out of my mouth that clued me in. Fortunately, I had a ready reply to her question. I smiled with assurance and began to speak. Unfortunately, all that came out of this wordy woman’s mouth were the words, “Blub, Blub, and Blub!” I felt exactly like the character Charlie Brown does when experiencing an embarrassing moment on the Peanuts cartoon. I wanted to crawl under my chair and disappear. Instead I quieted my heart and silently prayed. The prayer that spontaneously formed in my mind was one the nuns taught us to say before every test. “Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created and you shall renew the face of the earth.” Immediately, God answered my prayer. Effortlessly the words began to flow. I sounded like a talk show pro, even though I had never been on the air before. Gratefully, I did not “BLUB,” the entire show, only the first few minutes. As I left the station I felt like I was flying on the “wings of eagles.” As my heart soared heavenward, I thanked my Heavenly Father, for always taking care of me and for guiding my path. It was evident to me that this was a moment of grace.
This “Quantum Leap” opened a door and took my ministry in a new direction, towards media. Since that day I have spoken at moms’ clubs, in churches, and have been a guest on television and radio. It did not take long before I was at home in front of a microphone. What started out as my daughter winning a coloring contest, has “colored” my world beautiful! If I had never taken this “Quantum Leap” I would never have discovered that media was part of my mission. Ladies taking a leap into the unknown is always a bit scary, leap anyway. Don’t let a little “stage fright” paralyze you. If the Holy Spirit prompts you to go forth, leap boldly toward your goals and trust in Jesus. Get ready to face the world unafraid. Take your own “Quantum Leap.” Remember, nothing is impossible with God!
Copyright 2015 Ellen Mongan
Photos copyright 2015 Ellen Mongan. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Ellen Mongan is a Catholic writer, speaker, and host of WOW MOM podcasts. Her book, WOW MOM: A Walk with God, is on Amazon. She contributes to Catholic Mom, Women of Grace, and Augusta Chronicle. Her most important roles as wife to Deacon Patrick and mother of eight led her to ministry. Learn more and contact her to speak at EllenMongan.com.