Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!!!!

Here are the new year's resolutions I currently have. (I will probably add more.)

1. Pray more!

2. Exercise more-- specifically, by taking Lucky for a walk every day and exercising at Curves at least twice a week, three if possible.

3. Pray more!

4. Lose some weight. Ask myself before I eat anything-- am I really hungry? Do I want to lose weight or have a few seconds of pleasure tasting something?

5. Pray more!

6. Keep a cleaner tidier house .

7. Throw stuff out or give it away!

8. Pray more!

9. Keep my mouth shut more.

10. Be a better guard of my thoughts.

Guess which one I think is most important?

(Hint: 1,3,5, and 8. If I put it down four times maybe I'll get the message. (smile)

May the Lord give us all the graces we need to be truly converted in the new year. And may he richly bless you and everyone you love in 2007!!!!!

Gorgeous icon!!

Do you want to see a gorgeous icon painted by Mary Poppins Not? Wow. Homeschooling mother of seven and she produced this beauty. I am so impressed. Obviously God willed for her to use her talent in this way or she would not have been able to do it. God bless you MPN for giving God such glory!!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Monique, thirteen year old par excellent

My niece Monique is here for a few days. She knew we were tidying the house for some more guests. As I mentioned that we needed to clear off a certain table that had many Christmas gifts, etc. on it, Monique pointed out that we really needed more room in the family room closet. She then said, "Do you want me to clean it out for you?" Did I mention that she's thirteen? I said, "Sure!"

She then proceeded to take everything out of the closet, dusted every item, threw out incomplete puzzles, washed all the shelves, tidied the games..... It was amazing. She's thirteen!!! Is this your typical thirteen year old? I think not!!

What a gift this was to me. The closet looks fabulous and there's so much more room now. Did I mention that she's thirteen?? LOL

May God bless Monique in every way. She's a lovely young woman who is kind as well as gifted. I'm very proud to be her aunt.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ears Pierced

Today Mary had her ears pierced. I think it was harder on me than on her. I thought it would sound like a crisper, shorter pop gun kind of sound.

Instead it was more like a hole puncher-- kind of krrcch sound-- like when you've bitten the inside of your lip really hard. The awful sound of flesh being penetrated. I'm making it sound very gruesome. It was actually very quick and she said it hardly hurt at all.

She's wanted to do this for a while and most of the girls in her class already have pierced ears-- not that that means it's a good idea, as I've pointed out to her. I guess I ran out of reasons to say no. She will be limited to small post earrings for some time. They do look cute.

Hope everyone is recovering from the Christmas rush. I'm enjoying time with my family.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Mary is 12!!!!

My second youngest daughter is twelve years old! I can't believe it. Born the day after Christmas she had to be named Mary. I was in labor all day Christmas that year, wondering if she would indeed be born on Christmas day. I was glad she waited until the next day so she would have her own special day.

She always has all her out of town cousins here on her birthday which is nice. We usually have a big family party.

What a gift Mary is to our family. I was forty when she was born and I've always explained to her that that makes her a very special blessing. Not many women are so blessed at forty.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

My 22 year old son likes this picture of me better than the one I currently have. Since he's been very good to me lately (smile) I'm humoring him.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Still not finished....

OK. Here it is, the 23rd, or Christmas eve-eve as Deb's kids say (LOL) and I'm not finished shopping. So I'm taking the advice of my friend Sally. The kids will get some presents on Christmas and the rest on Epiphany. I've told them if they're not finished shopping they can do the same thing-- give the presents they have on Christmas and the rest on Epiphany. If Jesus could get his presents on the Epiphany instead of the day of his birth I'm sure my kids can wait for some too. This gives me more time, plus I can shop the sales. Not a bad idea. Perhaps it will be a new tradition in our family. Everybody seems OK with it.

My brother is going to have Christmas dinner at his house in Lansing. So I don't need to plan the dinner, except that I am bringing dessert. My one remaining challenge is that I need to find a sub for my adoration hour in our Eucharistic Chapel for Christmas night from 8:00 to 9:00 pm. My weekly hour is Monday from 8 to 9. I've done it other Christmases and it's been a wonderful blessing to spend an hour in the presence of Jesus on His birthday. Anyone in my area want to do it?

I hope you are all enjoying the remaining hours of Advent and that your hearts are at peace.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Sick as a dog...

Yesterday I was sick as a dog. I mean, I could not believe it. Headache, cramping, yucky gastro-intestinal stuff. My whole body hurt. I asked my dear 22 year old son, home from Notre Dame, if he could take over for me. Without even a moan, he got out of bed and proceeded to wake up his four younger siblings, got them moving, making lunches, cut the corned beef which was in the slow cooker for Mary's "Christmas in Ireland" project, which he aslo packed up and delivered to her classroom. He then spent three hours subbing for me in the second grade classroom. (I'm the teacher's aide.) Now that's a dear son.

Today I'm quite a bit better but still limping. Just starting to try to eat some crackers and sipping coke. Dear son said he'd take the girls to school if I wanted him to but I told him I thought I could do that.

These are days when I really have to wonder what the Lord has in mind. I have a ton of Christmas shopping left to do, my house is in shambles, the kids can't find clean clothes (without difficulty), the tree is up but not decorated, My son is in a play that I need to see either tonight or tomorrow night. I really need to grocery shop..... Perhaps the Lord just want s me to fully surrender to him and realize that neither Christmas nor anything else is entirely up to me. This may be a simpler Christmas. Maybe God knew I really needed rest and only a virus would do it. I spent the entire day yesterday in bed. The kids will still have presents. Maybe not as many little fun things as usual, but they will have a few gifts. What is most important is that the love of the Christ Child be in my heart, that I love nurture, and care for my family as best I can.
Real love does not consist of a perfect, clean house and lots of presents.

Advice to myself: It is not all up to you. Ask for help. Big kids can help shop for little kids. Focus on the people you love-- listening, responding, nurturing, supporting, giving all your attention. Don't sweat the details. Allow the joy of the Nativity to embrace your heart. Your children will be as joyful as you are. This doesn't have to be like every other Christmas. It can't be. Grandpa is not here, for one thing. And circumstances have prevented the whole preparation from going smoothly (or even going at all since yesterday.) But Christmas is not all about me. It is about the Incarnation. And the love of God can fill this home and even make it the sweetest Christmas ever. May I have the humility to let it happen.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Saying good-bye to parents

Last night I had a dream about my father and woke up missing him terribly.

Tonight I went to the visitation of the mother of a close friend of ours. Last week I attended the funeral of the mother of another close friend. Two weeks before that I was at a funeral of an old friend of mine who was also of that generation. It seems a lot of people are leaving. Is this just what happens when you enter your fifties?

I think death seems so strange to us, so unnatural, because we know deep within our souls that we are indeed eternal beings. We do not belong to this world. Our lives here are very, very temporary.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Ladies talking football?

This morning while watching the news shows I saw a woman journalist commenting on football. OK. I'm sorry. There are just some things, in my opinion, that men are more suited to do than women. I cannot watch a woman sportscaster commenting on football without a little smirk on my face. Football is just such a testosterone-laden sport. It's a guy thing. It's almost the quintessential guy-thing.

I like watching football sometimes with my boys. This is a fairly recent development. For many years I have hated football. Why did I hate it? Because I didn't get it and I don't mean just the rules, which are complicated enough. I didn't understand the power aspect of it. The toughness. The just-this-side-of violence part of it. Football is a very masculine sport.

So when I see a perfectly coiffed woman talking with feigned enthusiasm about the various aspects of the game, I just can't take her seriously. It's a guy-thing. I feel like telling her to stop trying to be something she is not. A woman might be able to understand and analyze football, but it sure seems to me that she has to do it from the outside looking in. She will not be looking at it the same way a male enthusiast would. For her, it always seems a little forced.

And, for heaven's sakes, don't send the female commentator into the locker room!!! Nothing makes her look more ridiculous.

Perhaps, I'm being unfair. But that's how it seems to this opinionated mom.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

No cash, no credit cards, Yikes!

I had a nice trip to Notre Dame. No one else wanted to make the six hour round trip for just an hour or two at ND. So I had a quiet peaceful ride by myself until.... my daughter called to tell me that I had left my wallet on the stairs.

At first I thought, Oh well, I can charge what I need. Then I realized that my charge cards are in my wallet too, as well as my license. I looked at the gas tank and realized I only had a quarter tank of gas left and no cash or charge card to buy more. I called my husband and we calculated on Mapquest how many more miles I had to go and it seemed the gas would last. Once I arrived at Notre Dame my son could buy the gas.

Then I realized I was going to need two dollars for the Indiana toll! I scrounged around the bottom of my purse and found several dollars in change.

It was strange feeling so vulnerable without any money or credit cards. I take so much for granted.

Anyway, the time spent at ND was wonderful. My son and I lit a candle and said a rosary at the grotto. Then we went to the bookstore and did some Christmas shopping. (I did have my checkbook. Fortunately, they allowed me to use my son's wallet for ID) We have enough Notre Dame fans in the family that we were able to purchase for quite a few people.

Then-- a nice, peaceful, three-hour ride home. My firstborn and I had great uninterrupted conversation time.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Weird, new stuff

I met with my dad's attorney today to talk about the estate. I'm learning a lot of new stuff. I've never been very interested in financial stuff and always just took my dad's advice whenever a question came up. Now I've got to learn about it.

I went to my dad's house to get some papers and pick up some things. It felt very strange to be in there with him gone. Once in a while it seemed like there was a faint fragrance of my mother, although whe hasn't been in that house for over 10 years. She had been in a nursing home with advanced alzheimer's for over ten years. It may me wonder, in a good way, if she might in some way be spiritually present watching me, along with my dad. It brought tears to my eyes as I realized that if it's possible to do that from heaven I'm sure they would want to. Maybe they were there.

Tomorrow I drive to Notre Dame to pick up my son for the Christmas holiday. That will be fun, fun, fun. I hope he will say a rosary with me at the grotto.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

No more dial-up

Guess what? I'm actually getting high-speed internet tomorrow!! (I hope. the last time we scheduled this the guy didn't show up.) I'm excited. I'll be able to read many more blogs in the same amount of time. You wouldn't believe how slow this thing is now. I actually try to link to somebody and then go in the kitchen to do something real quick so as not to have to just sit here and wait. I'm looking forward to getting caught up with everybody. Maybe I'll actually be able to post some pictures without having to tie up the computer ( and the phone!) for 45 minutes. LOL

Does anybody know if you can put a password on internet explorer to prevent people from getting on the internet unsupervised? We will, of course, install a filter but I understand no filter is foolproof. Right now we have to put in a password to go online. With cable it will just come on, right?

Maybe I'll check with Jody at "Technology for Mothers Reviews and How Tos".

Anyway, here's keeping my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

How ready are you?

Today someone said to me that she has almost all the Christmas presents wrapped. Wrapped!! She said this with a little tension in her voice, as though she thought she was cutting things pretty close. OK. Want to know what I have done? Almost nothing!!

I have a couple gifts for my children (not a couple for each, just a couple total) and two presents (chew things) for the dog! I know I have had a lot on my plate and clearly would naturally be behind this year, but I have never, ever had nearly all the presents wrapped two weeks before Christmas. Most of my wrapping happens Christmas Eve after the kids are in bed. Now that's down to the wire. I'm proud of myself if I get maybe a third of the wrapping done before Christmas Eve.

I wonder what it's like to be as organized as this friend of mine. I'm just not there. I think if I tried to be I'd end up being mean to a lot of people in the process. (Although she is as sweet as she can be.) It's kind of like my house cleaning. Years ago I realized that the cleaner my house was the meaner I was to my kids. I decided the kids were more important and my house has been messy ever since. LOL

I hope you all have the level of organization you need to be peaceful. God bless.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Guadalupe Mission

Today my family participated in the Guadalupe Mission for the unborn. It was an incredible experience. With permission from the bishop, the exposed Blessed Sacrament was actually taken in procession to Planned Parenthood where we all said the rosary for an end to abortion. Then there was actually benediction in front of Planned Parenthood. It was just awesome. How I wished I had had a digital camera so I could post a picture of it here. The exposed Blessed Sacrament in the foreground with Planned Parenthood in the background. I don't know how it can stay open after the presence of Jesus coming so near. I wonder what the next day of "business" will be like.

Oh Lord, may your Eucharistic Presence bring that clinic down. May the hearts of all the employees turn toward you. May the light of your truth suddenly be revealed to them. And may the killing end, by the power of Your name.

Oh Lord, have mercy on us all that the killing has gone on for so long....have mercy.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Is he home?

The other day my brother asked to see my father's will. I had a copy in a totebag that I nearly always have with me. I looked around and didn't see it. I looked around my bedroom. It wasn't there. I looked under the bed, in the closet, on the stairway. It wasn't there. I went out and searched the car. Then I really started to get frantic. Where could I have left my father's will?? I thought I must have left it somewhere odd, having put it down without realizing it...
I went into the laundry room and looked around. It wasn't there. I started to panic. Then I looked up and realized that if my father were already in heaven he could intercede for me. I said, "Dad, if you're in heaven, help me find the will..... in the next five minutes." I didn't want to be deceived. I wanted to make it hard. Then I prayed, "Lord, if my father is not yet in heaven, please do not let me find it in the next five minutes. You know I will take it as a sign that he is home. Don't let me find it if he is not."

Then I went back upstairs. Not even a minute had passed. My oldest daughter was in the kitchen. I asked if she had seen my blue totebag. She said, "Yeah, it's in my car." Stunned, I just looked at her, smiling. She said, "What...do you want me to go get it?" I just said, "Yeah, that would be great." Later I told her about my prayer.

I will not assume my father is in heaven. I will still pray for his soul and have Masses said for him. But there were indeed a lot of people praying for him in the last month of his life. And I did ask for the intercession of Saint Joseph, who is said to never let anyone down. It would seem I have good reason to hope.

God bless all you prayer warriors.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception

What a gift to the Church is the Blessed Mother. Lord, I thank you for giving us your mother.

This day is also significant in our family because it is the Baptismal day of my son Jim. Perhaps that is why he seems to have a special relationship with Our Lady.

When I was a little girl my family said the rosary together. My mother had gotten for us a little viewfinder (remember those?) with 3D pictures of each mystery. We would put the little slide in, take a look for a few minutes, and pass it to the next person. I always enjoyed those pictures and wondered what happened to the little set.

Well, guess what? I found it at my father's house among some other pictures! It's still in great shape and I brought it home to show my children. Tonight we used it while saying the rosary. It was a sweet piece of nostalgia for me and my little girls really enjoyed it too.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Joke, just a joke (smile)

Question: What's the difference between a liturgist and a terrorist?

Answer: You can negotiate with the terrorist.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I am numb.

There is a part of me that looks back at the last week and asks, "What just happened? Is my father really gone? Could it have been a very realistic bad dream?" I guess this is denial.

The funeral was very beautiful. The son of two professional musicians, my father always loved great music. And he especially loved the music played by his grandchildren.

My dear friend Mary, a professional opera singer sang several solos including Ave Maria and the Irish Blessing. She was also the cantor. My sons Mike and John sang the psalm response in harmony. My son John played a movement of a Lizt sonata on the piano. My daughter Anne played a violin solo as a communion meditation. And Jim and Anne did readings. I'm sure my father was pleased.

He was entombed (right word?)with my mother in a mausoleum. My father bought this rather extravagant crypt when my mother died. It's in a very beautiful building. What was just amazing to me was that when they opened it we could actually see my mother's casket again. My father's casket was identical to hers and they still looked identical. The finish on hers was just as flawless as his. She died 2 years and 9 months ago. While it may sound morbid, it actually felt like an awesome privilege to be able to see her casket again. I know she's in heaven and not there, but still it seemed like an experience of part of her again.

I can't tell you how much I feel and appreciate all of your prayers. May God richly reward all of you!!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Dad is gone.

Yesterday my father left us.

He was doing fine. He had been completely off the ventilator on Monday and had done well. There were plans to transfer him to a vent rehab type facility in Ann Arbor. His spirits were OK. He was ready to try the transfer and the paperwork was in the works. Respirator therapy had planned two periods of being off the ventilator on Tuesday.

On Monday night when I said good-bye he asked if I would be there in the morning. I said I couldn't make it until the afternoon but that I would see him then. He said, "I hope so." Those words echoed a little in my mind and I hoped that something unexpected wasn't about to happen.

On Tuesday morning I got a call from the hospital saying they were performing CPR. By the time I got there he was gone. The nurse said, "Something sudden must have happened." He had talked to her ten minutes before. The doctor said he was "shocked." It was not that he wasn't really very ill. It's just that there were no indications he was near the end. His heart stopped. Perhaps it had reached its physical limit.

My daughter was at the hospital about 5 minutes after I arrived. We said the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and then the glorious mysterious of the rosary. My brother arrived shortly after that. We stayed for hours with him in the room. It was just hard to leave. I had sat there for so many days and I just didn't want to leave him.

I'll write more about this later. It's hard to write through the tears.

For those of you nearby.....His name is Richard Bailhe. Visitation is at Lynch & Sons in Troy, Michigan from 2 to 9 on Thursday. The funeral is at St. Thomas More Church in Troy at 10:00 on Friday. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers!!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

What a difference a day makes...

Yesterday my father said he wanted all the tubes removed and that he wanted to die. This was in the morning. As the day went on we talked to him again about the future and he wasn't so clear. He even said that, yes, he wanted to die, but then added "for now..." This assessing of a desire to live on the part of a person on life support is very difficult. Anyone who feels awful might say "I want to die" and really mean it at that moment, but only because their judgment is clouded by the suffering or depression of the moment. We finally decided that Dad was having mixed feelings, was certainly down, and that he wasn't thinking clearly enough to be making life and death decisions. It was a very scary time.

I think it's very important that very ill and debilitated people like my father understand and be told that their life still has value. I told him that his life was still very precious to me even on the ventilator. I told him that his life still had value and that everybody who loves him still thinks so. I gave him some examples too of how he could still enjoy his grandchildren even in his condition-- we could still watch football games together and he could still hear them play music. Then I added that "that being said, I don't know what it feels like to be in your condition and you are under no obligation to continue to fight and to stay on the ventilator. If you want to give up, we'll support you. Just know that your life is still valuable." something to that effect. I think when a person is suffering that much, if they are not reminded of the value with which others regard their life, it would be very easy to decide it would just be better for everybody for them to just die.

So... the good news...today he was much better. He smiled a lot and said (mouthed) some funny things. For the last two days he has been on minimal assist (cpap) from the ventilator all day long and just on full assist at night to give him a rest. When he heard that he mouthed, "better than I thought." Today I asked the nurse how she thought he was doing. She said he's doing fine. I asked if she though he was improving and she said unequivocally "yes, but he has a long way to go." I asked if he was making small incremental steps in the right direction and she said he definitely was. I went in to my dad's room and told him exactly what she had said and he put a fist in the air (like a gesture of triumph).

This is not to say that there might not come a day when it is clear that my father will not recover and he might decide he wants the vent turned off. But I do believe that suffering is redemptive and that all human life is valuable and purposeful. I wonder how many times people have been pulled off "life support" because they were having a bad day or because no one told them that all life has meaning, even and maybe especially, life in a state of debilitation.

Thank you all for your prayers and kind words. I have no doubt of their effect and I thank God for all of you.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I have much to be thankful for and would write about those things if I weren't so physically and emotionally exhausted.

My dad has been moved to a step-down intensive care unit. His condition is really about the same. His spirits are really low, though. He seems, understandably, to be getting depressed.

I made Thanksgiving dinner at my dad's house so we could be closer to the hospital. It sadly occurred to me that this may be the last Thanksgiving we ever celebrate in that house. There was comfort, though, in the feeling of my mother's presence which is always so strong there. I am sure she is busy interceding constantly for my dad and our family as my dad's life hangs in the balance.

There is talk of transferring my father to the University of Michigan medical center since he has pretty much exhausted the resources for getting a firm diagnosis at the hospital he is at. Please pray for wisdom and clarity for all of us-- my dad, the doctors, and our family.

God bless you all. I pray you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. (You Americans, that is) Thanks be to God for his mercy endures forever!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

ALS????

Today I learned that the neurologist talked to my dad yesterday and told him that the most likely diagnosis is ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). She told him this without talking to us first and without even informing us. In other words. she told an 81 year old man on a ventilator that he has a terminal illness and may never be able to breath again on his own. She told him this without a single family member being present, and without even so much as a phone call to let his family know. And he can't talk to ask any questions.

I was furious. They couldn't do the tracheotomy or the muscle biopsy without my signing a consent form, but they can deliver to him the equivalent of a death sentence without informing me before or after. I felt like saying when was I going to find out, when he spelled ALS on the alphabet board??

Anyway, I''m not convinced it's accurate anyway since several doctors had already said they had ruled out ALS. Why would she tell him such a thing without 100% certainty? Could it be that after 20 days on a ventilator and no diagnosis they thought they better write something down? They don't even have the results of the muscle biopsy yet.

OK. I'm calming down. Thanks for letting me vent. We had a nice day anyway, even though Michigan lost. He had six grandchildren, 2 children, 1 in-law, and two friends at the hospital, taking turns watching the game with him. He smiled most of the time. I think he really enjoyed all the company so much that the game results were almost irrelevant.

Please continue to pray for my dad (Richard) and our family and for an accurate diagnosis-- and, most of all, for the Lord's most perfect will to be accomplished at this most significant time in my dad's life. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the Lord.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Some good news.....

Today my father was eating ice chips!! Because of the tracheotomy it is possible for him to eat and drink by mouth now, as long as he can swallow well enough. He has not yet had the swallow testing but he's definitely swallowing the water from the ice chips. He has wanted ice chips so badly these last two weeks that this is really a very big victory for him. If he passes their swallow test he may even be able to eat.

And.... they're planning to move him to a step-down intensive care unit! I guess he is pretty stable. The respiratory therapist was even talking about getting him up to sit in a chair for a little bit tomorrow.

Tonight he was very alert and trying to communicate. He "told" the nurse that he graduated from the University of Michigan 57 years ago. Tomorrow my brother and I and some of our kids will go to the hospital to watch Michigan beat Ohio State with him. (we hope-- smile)

So, all in all. it was the best day I've had with my dad since he was admitted 20 days ago. Still no diagnosis and no results yet from the muscle biopsy, but at least there were some steps in the right direction.

Thank you for all your prayers!!! God is good!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tracheotomy!

Yesterday my dad was given a tracheotomy. He is now being ventilated through the hole in his neck instead of a tube down his throat. This was a difficult decision. The trach is not permanent. It can be healed over if it should no longer be needed. But it is more permanent than the tube in the throat. My dad agreed to it. He is still alert for periods during the day and he's aware of what is going on. It is for this reason that we, as well as many of the hospital staff, do not think that this breathing problem is a result of the aging process. It is disproportionate to the rest of his health.

Anyway... back to the tracheotomy. The trach has the advantage of being more comfortable-- no tube down the throat. And it's much safer. The throat tubes can cause trauma over time to the throat and vocal chords, especially if they're removed and reinserted many times. With the trach they can turn down the vent, even turn it off for hours at a time and then restart it. So he could build up breathing ability gradually without any risk of trauma to his throat. He may also be able to eat regular foods with it if his swallow ability is OK. Right now he's getting tube feeding. He may even be able to talk with it during the times when the vent is off.

Then today he had a muscle biopsy done to gather more information about where this muscle weakness may be coming from. It will hopefully result in a diagnosis--and, even more hopefully, a treatable diagnosis. The biopsy was from his thigh which was the first place he felt like his strength was being affected.

These last two days were pretty tough. I was at the hospital alone most of the time. It's such a relief to have these two procedures through and to see that he's still OK. So far, it does not appear to have been too much for him. He is much more alert than when he first went on the vent.

Thank you all so, so much for your prayers. They are sustaining me. I thank God for my dear blogging friends. May the Lord return to you in grace all the love you are sending my way in the form of prayers.

Must get to bed....

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Day 14 on the ventilator

Today is the 14th day and still no diagnosis. There is talk of a tracheostomy to make him more comfortable and to allow for more flexibility in using the vent. With the trach he could be on the vent for part of a day and off for say a few hours at a time. So far, my dad does not want to do it.

My 17 year old was in the play, "The Miracle Worker" this weekend. It was such an inspiring story and they did such a good job. Watching it was a lovely break from the life and death issues that have been dominating my thoughts.

Still haven't had much time for blogging besides a few minutes here and there. I really miss reading everybody's posts daily. But I will be back. God bless you all for your kind and supportive words and, most of all, for your prayers which I know are being answered.

Friday, November 10, 2006

A Quiet Day

Today is quiet. Lizzie has a sore throat and a slight fever. I'm not feeling so well myself so we are both home taking it easy. I drove kids to two schools and came home and went back to bed. It's actually been very peaceful, in spite of my headache. I haven't even listened to talk radio because I thought more discussion of the election results might draw my spirits downward. I just don't want to hear about Nancy Pelosi right now. It's too disheartening, to say the least.

So for the first time in 13 days I won't be at the hospital visiting my dad. I spoke with his ICU nurse and he's about the same. He's alert, involved in decisions about his care, and cooperative. Because of this, a number of nurses, doctors, etc. are saying there is reason to hope he may recover, pending of course on the actual diagnosis which we don't yet have.

They all agree that his case is unusual. He looks like he should be able to breathe on his own and they don't know what condition is preventing him from doing so. He does have a number of heart problems that may be contributing, but they do not alone seem to provide a sufficient explanation. His cardiologist of 22 years thinks he will recover.

Thank you for all your prayers. May God give the doctors wisdom and right understanding.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Back on the vent after a 15 hour reprieve

Yesterday they tried my dad off the ventilator again and he did fine for 15 hours. Then his blood gases started looking bad, even dangerous, and they had to put him back on. It was a great disappointment again, but I knew it was a possibility. They're very concerned about his very weak cough.

So... now we're facing the decision with him of having a tracheotomy or, basically, giving up. He does not, fortunately, seem interested in giving up but I'm not sure he understands the gravity of his situation.

Tomorrow we have a family conference with all the doctors involved-- cardiologist, neurologist, rheumatologist, attending, and pulmonologist. The problem is they do not have a diagnosis!! They really don't know why he can't breathe. And without a diagnosis there is no prognosis and no way to realistically approach the prospects of his future health.

Oh Lord, please enlighten these doctors. May the right ideas come to them. May they understand what they need to do. Please give my father peace and right judgment. And may your most perfect will be accomplished.

Since today would have been my parents' 56th wedding anniversary I ask for my mother's intercession in the situation. I even stopped at her grave on the way to the hospital.

Oh Lord, please give me strength. Please give me wisdom and show me how to be the daughter you want me to be right now. Please keep me going....

Monday, November 06, 2006

Day 8 on the ventilator

Just got back from the hospital. They tested my father's breathing again and let him breathe for a little while with the vent turned off (but tube still in). His parameters were not as good as Saturday so they didn't want to risk it. I guess each reinsertion is a risk to to the tissues of the throat and esophagus.

The good news is the doctors are finally looking more seriously at neurological and muscle disorders as a cause. They're doing more testing. I just hope the diagnosis is not too late. He's pretty alert a lot of the time and communicating with an alphabet board. He watched the Lions game yesterday and they won!! That was nice since they don't win very often and he asked to watch the game.

Please pray for wisdom for the doctors, peace for my dad, and most of all, for the Lord's most perfect will to be accomplished in this whole confusing situation. St. Joseph, pray for us!!!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Well... it didn't turn out to be as great a day as I expected. Everything was going well. It looked like he would have no trouble when they pulled out the vent tube since he had already been breathing on his own for an hour. But when they pulled it out his lungs started developing a lot of secretions. He couldn't cough them up effectively enough and his oxygen levels started dropping too low so they had to reinsert it! He only had it out for about 15 minutes. I'm hoping this is an example of 3 steps forward, 1 backward.

We did have a good visit anyway. Liz drew Grandpa 4 new pictures for the wall-- a pumpkin, a snowman, a flower scene, and a turkey, complete with "To Grandpa" "I love you" "From Liz" messages. He seemed to really like them.

We also brought a cd of John playing the piano which they let us play on the computer in his room. He really liked that too, gesturing to the nurse that his grandson was only 17. He's so proud of him.

I'm so exhausted when I get home from these trips I can barely read anybody's posts. I'm sorry. I'll catch up when things calm down.

Thank you for all of your prayers.

Glory to God! My father's coming back!!!!

They still have the ventilator in but he's breathing on his own!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Pulseox of 99 and 100!!!!! I'm on my way to the hospital. If his blood work is good they're going to pull the vent tube out!!!

Thank you for all your prayers! You are all so sweet to me. God has a plan and it's mysterious, but He is God and we are not. I place my father in his hands. May the Lord richly bless every one of you prayer warriors. May the joy and peace of our awesome Master be upon you all and upon everyone you love. I ask for God's mercy upon my dad. Through the intercession of Saint Joseph may my father have a happy death at the time God has appointed. And I thank him with all my heart that it no longer appears to be imminent. I'll post more tomorrow.

Glory to God in the Highest! The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the Lord.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Day 4 on the ventilator

Day 4 on the ventilator...

My dad was a little less alert today and not as communicative. His numbers were still OK. Meds are keeping his blood pressure up and, with the respirator, his oxygen levels are good. Still, I feel a growing sense of grief. He still could pull through although one doctor has said he does not expect it. Although, I've been aware for a long time that his health was declining, to be here watching him breathe on a respirator still leaves me in disbelief. I feel very vulnerable and numb. But I know that when I am weak He is strong, (Jesus, that is) and it is His strength that is carrying me through.

My youngest made a very colorful design of the word "Grandpa" and we taped it to the wall with a few grandkids' pictures.

I'm taking one day at a time.... that's all any of us have, right?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My father remains in stable condition. He's conscious and he's trying to talk and/or write what he wants to say. His blood pressure dropped dangerously low yesterday (70/30) but they were able to get it back up with more fluids and meds. I'm leaving to pick my sister up at the airport and then head back to the hospital.

Thank you so, so much for all of your prayers. We have had some wonderful nurses and medical personnel and I feel unnaturally peaceful most of the time. I haven't had time to do any blogging and I'm looking forward to catching up on your posts.

God bless you all. Please keep praying as you feel led.

Rosemary

Monday, October 30, 2006

Urgent Prayer Request for my father

Well, just as my sister predicted, my father went into the hospital yesterday. My son was home from college for the weekend and we all went up to see Grandpa (except for my oldest daughter who had to work). He seemed so sick, even further debilitated than before, and said he felt like he was losing his sense of balance. We took him to the ER and they admitted him for tests.

This morning they told me on the phone that his condition had changed and he was being admitted to intensive care. He had gone into respiratory failure and they put him on a ventilator. I just got back from the hospital. He is pretty stable in other ways and could respond a little. I'm not feeling very hopeful about his recovery although his doctor thinks he will come through this.

Thank you for all your prayers. Please continue to pray for my dad. May he be fully prepared for the journey home when the Lord chooses to call him. May the Lord lead me to plan where to be when, arranging for the kids, being at the hospital when He wants me there, etc. and may the doctors have wisdom, and may the Lord give my dad all the grace and peace he wants him to have at this crucial time. My Lord and my God, your kingdom come, your will be done... Saint Joseph, please pray for my dad.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

So sad for the Tigers

I'm so sad for the Tigers. They played so well during the season and then just really seemed to choke during the World Series. I'm sure there will be much speculation about why they could not have been coached/managed better psychologically. They're still a great team and I look forward to next year.

Yea, Tigers!!

Friday, October 27, 2006

More Advice to Myself

Do not, I repeat, do not try to do what is humanly impossible . You will fail and there will be a price to pay.

On a day, or during a week, when emotions or difficulties are weighing heavily on your heart, schedule fewer commitments than usual and strongly resist adding extras.

Concentrate only on what the Lord may want (and remember he is not an unreasonable God.) Do not let perceived reactions or judgments of others distract you. You are here to do God's will, not anybody else's.

Ask for help when you need it but don't take it personally if people seem unwilling. They don't know what's on your heart or how full your plate is. Give the benefit of the doubt. They may be dealing with more than you are. God will provide what you need-- as long as you're not an idiot about it.

When there is a great need for my time in more than one location, I can still only be in one place at the same time. I know that this is laughably obvious, but somehow I still don't seem to get it. Accept the limitations of the physical world and pray for God's wisdom in discerning His priorities for my time.

Yes, now if I would just follow my own advice......

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I love my blogging friends!

I'm tired today and feeling somewhat overwhelmed. I've talked to my brother and sister about my dad. I'm really worried about him. He's declining so fast. I'm glad my sister will be up here in a week. She thinks he will be hospitalized before that. She may be right.

But he is watching the Tigers tonight and seems engaged in the game. Course, so far, they're doing pretty well.

My life has been so enriched by this blog and all of your blogs. I have a whole new circle of wonderful, faith-filled friends. It's so nice to sit down and just touch base with everybody (no baseball pun intended.LOL) Thanks you for all your prayers, hugs, and support.

Go Tigers!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Prayer Request-- My Father

My father has not been sounding well lately. He has been losing muscle strength at an alarming rate over the last year. He's been a cardiac patient for a number of years and is on a lot of meds.

I went to see him tonight. (He lives about 50 miles from us.) I thought it would be good to see him and be reassured because surely he would seem better in person. My reaction was just the opposite. He seems much worse and I'm really alarmed. He has always kept his medications very organized and could always tell you what he was taking what for, etc. Now he's getting them confused. In his organizer I could see that he hadn't taken his pills last night. This is so uncharacteristic. I think he needs someone with him all the time. He doesn't want to go to a nursing home and he won't move down here. He's 82 and does not have dementia so it really is up to him. He's lost 3 pounds in the last ten days and has been steadily losing over the last year. He does see doctors regularly and no one seems to have a diagnosis.

Please pray for him and for wisdom and guidance for me and my family. (He's seeing a neuromuscular specialist next week.

Thank you all so much.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Happy Birthday Mike (DH) and John (DS)

According to my husband Mike, the best birthday present he ever got was his son John. Yup, they share the same birthday and it's today. I tried to post a picture but I just can't seem to make it work even with different approaches. I'm thinking it's because I'm using dial-up. I'm trying one more time so there may or may not be a picture with this post.

What I really want to do is post an audio of John's piano playing but that may be way beyond the capability of me and this pokey dial-up.

Happy Birthday to the man and the baby-man (17yrs) LOL

Monday, October 23, 2006

1968 World Series-- Tigers v. Cardinals and "Roley Poley Mickey Lolich"

I realize I'm dating myself.

I vividly remember the 1968 World Series when the Tigers played against the Cardinals, so this World Series is a trip into nostalgia for me. I was in seventh grade and my brother was in eighth. We were good buddies and he was an avid Tiger fan. Under his influence I knew all the players' names and shared in his excitement at the World Series.

Denny MacLaine (sp?) was the Tigers' star pitcher and had even broken a record for wins that year. But when the World Series started, he had an injury or had blown out his arm from the season, or something. He may have won one of the games, but for the most part the Tigers relied on Mickey Lolich. Lolich had been an average pitcher during the season. He was like the Tigers' second or third best pitcher.

The Tigers were losing three games to one when they headed to St. Louis. It didn't look good. But Lolich went on to pitch three of the four winning games!!! And in what I believe was the last game, Lolich came up to bat. Had less than a .200 batting average and the sportscasters were all commenting on how they were surprised the Tigers had not put in someone else to bat. According to my brother's memory, they were still talking about what an unusual decision it was to put the pitcher in to bat himself when Lolich hit a homerun with men on base. His homer helped win the game!!!

Mickey Lolich became Detroit's beloved hero. He was just an average player and even a below average batter. He didn't look like an athlete. He had kind of a pudgy build. But he did better than his best and, more than anybody else, brought World Series victory to the Tigers. Someone wrote a song about him called "Roley Poley Mickey Lolich" that detailed his achievement. He was the unlikely guy who rose to stardom when it really mattered to Detroit. Lolich made Detroit's victory all the sweeter.

Perhaps the lesson to be learned is that we all have more in us than we think.

Go Tigers!!!!!!

Friday, October 20, 2006

The joy of motherhood-- a lost concept??

I read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal today about how women in Estonia are being paid to bear children. In 2001 it was predicted that Estonia would lose half of its population by mid century. Actually today Japan, Italy, Germany, and South Korea have an even lower birth rate than Estonia.

But the government of Estonia decided to do something about it. Even with the subsidies the birth rate is still not at replacement level.

The part of the article that really struck me, though, was the explanation for why birth rates have dropped so low.

--greater economic opportunities for women
--advances in birth control (their words)
--"the spread of ideas about individual freedom and happiness that are hard to reconcile with caring for a large family."

Individual freedom and happiness are not compatible with caring for a large family??Clearly such an idea was not formed by talking to people with large families. Shall I be blunt? Yes, if you need live a selfish, egocentric life in order to be happy then, no, you would not be happy raising a large family. It is so very sad that people believe these lies. Happiness does not come from individual self-
gratification. Does the general population really believe that loving, caring for, and nurturing one's own children does not bring happiness??? Come on!! What does then? Big houses? Powerful positions? Lots of money? Self indulgence? The freedom to never have to sacrifice anything that I want? Where did an understanding of the joy of motherhood get lost? Children are a gift from God. Satan has led people to believe the most ridiculous things. And they themselves suffer as a result. Lord, have mercy.

Apology

I must tell many of you that somehow either I'm not reading Bloglines correctly, or I've accidentally deleted some blogs from my list, or I'm not reading Bloglines correctly... the long and the short of it is I've discovered that many blogs that I want to read regularly have been listed as not having new posts when they actually do! I kept thinking there sure are a lot of people getting too busy to write. Then I went to one directly instead of through Bloglines and realized there were lots of new posts that I hadn't read. If I used to comment on your blog and haven't in a long time that is probably why. I'm so sorry. I seem to have lost a lot of them. I don't know what I did. I'm now trying to resubscribe to ones I think are missing. I don't even know how to get Bloglines to show me a list of my subscriptions. I'm sure it's very simple. (smile) I sure learn this computer stuff slowly Any suggestions? Again, I'm sorry. I feel like I've really missed out.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Thomas Dubay on venial sins

I should point out that yesterday's post was entirely from my retreat notes-- the thoughts of Thomas Dubay, primarily. I'll try to make that more clear.

Father Thomas Dubay says:

"Even though they are not colossal, they remain disorders. [venial sins] They cool but do not extinguish the love relationship with God and our neighbor. Ordinary gossiping and overeating are examples. The reader should note that when we speak above about 'willed venial sins' the first adjective is important indeed....

To snap at a person usually is a free action and thus with guilt. We ordinarily can control what we say. If one has the habit of snapping when annoyed, he ought to work at getting rid of the habit. Another example: it is not a sin to feel grouchy-- after all, while we cannot control how we feel, we can make an effort to be pleasant even on a hard day."

OK. Here' my reaction:

At first reading, my reaction to these passages was an awareness of my own guilt. As I read it again I'm wondering about his use of the word "ordinarily." Are there times, then, when overeating, for example, might not be a sin? I'm sure that there are. When it's compulsive behavior it may not be willed with complete freedom. How about his "We ordinarily can control what we say." Does this allow for times when there really is a certain lack of control? I'm hoping. LOL I must say there are times when I am really upset that I feel it's five minutes later that I truly find out what I just said-- as I replay it in my head and gasp... Maybe this is rationalization. There is certainly some guilt in this area in my life.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Thomas Dubay: Deep intimacy with the Trinity requires deep conversion

Deep intimacy with the Trinity requires deep conversion. This was the focus of my retreat this past weekend with Thomas Dubay, author of "Deep Conversion/Deep Prayer," as the retreatmaster. The retreat was based on the book.

Father Dubay pointed out that everyone has a consuming concern. ("I live for this.") He noted that Dostoevsky said that man cannot live without kneeling. You will worship something. He said that, in reality, there are no atheists, only idolaters.

What might even professed Christians actually be living for? Money, pride (I just have to dominate.), lust (opposite of love), etc.

The first six recorded words of Jesus are, "Be converted and accept the Gospel."

A baby is completely egocentric. Some people never get over it.

Dubay says, "Perhaps the most all-embracing trait of the original wound...is omnipresent egocentrism....Yes, my thoughts and desires and inclinations are spontaneously focused not on others but on myself: my conveniences, my pleasures, my preferences, my possessions, my prospects, my plans, my sufferings, my desires, my aspirations, my reputation, my freedom....
The fundamental conversion is therefore the renouncing of this pervasive egoism and the turning to an altruistic love for objective truth, goodness, and beauty.

Yeah. The list of "my's" is all too familiar among the things my thoughts are frequently directed towards. May my heart, mind, and soul always turn to objective truth, goodness, and beauty. (Even when I'm picking up towels from the bathroom floor? LOL)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Touchdown Jim!!!

I had a wonderful, relaxing, restful, and inspiring retreat. I will be writing more about Father Thomas Dubay and his very practical and helpful advice in pursuing a life of virtue.

But, first, I must write about a very exciting event that happened while I was gone. My son Jim's junior varsity football team has won their Catholic League championship! The team with the best record wins and even though they have one more game, no team will top their record because they are undefeated. They have a wonderful faith-filled coach who requires that they attend Mass together the morning of every game day. They also pray together on one knee in the middle of the field after every game, and they invite the other team to join them. The other team always does and it's a very moving sight to see. So congratulations Irish!!

And guess what happened at the game Saturday night?? (The game I missed because I was on retreat-- sad face) The put Jim in, gave him the ball, and he ran seventy yards to score a touchdown!!! Yes, SEVENTY YARDS!!! According to my husband the team went nuts, jumped all over him, everyone complimented him on the run, people asking who is that kid?...etc. He has not played much for most of the season so this was a huge, personal victory. I'm so proud of all the work he has done, learning to be a good football player (and not only just skilled on the field), persevering, developing self-discipline, being there, etc. I am so very happy for him.

One more game and I will certainly be there. So glad we let him play football. (I still pray before every game that he will not get hurt.) God is good!!!

Friday, October 13, 2006

I'm substitute teaching in a fourth grade classroom at this very moment. The kids are all at art and I'm blogging on the classroom computer. It's much, much faster than mine. I love it. They've been pretty good today. Funny how the more experienced I get as a substitute the better behaved the kids seem to be. (smile). I've learned what I call the don't-mess-with-me demeanor. Serious face, stand tall (even though I'm quite short, only a little taller than they are), etc. I actually enjoy it.

Anyway, I'm going on reatreat this weekend. The retreat master is Thomas Dubay, author of "Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer" which I've written about a few times. I've been reading the book as a preparation for the retreat. I should be relaxed and really looking forward to it, but there's so much to do before I leave that I'm still focused on all those tasks. I'm not even packed and I won't be home until almost five.

Oh well. I'm sure it will be wonderful and I plan to get plenty of sleep!! I won't be posting again probably until Sunday or Monday. (Unless I get to the library during my son's piano lesson-- could happen. There's a library nearby.) If I do get back on a computer I'll probably try to catch up on reading all of your blogs which I'm still a little behind on.

Enjoy your weekend, all!!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Today we had the strangest weather. It was very, very cold with gusts of wind and snow(!!) that did not stay, fortunately. The kids were all underdressed. Then, between the snow gusts the sun would come out and there would be blue sky.

I have not been getting enough sleep lately. The other day I fell asleep sitting up in the waiting room of the dentist's office. I'm able to sleep when given the opportunity. I just have not given myself enough opportunities. So... on that note. I'm going to bed to give myself the opportunity to sleep. Good night all.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The phone is finally fixed!!

I actual blog using a dial-up internet connection and for the last 3 weeks or so we've been having trouble with our phone. There has been a lot of static on the line and the computer has been miserably unhappy about it. The speed was about a fourth of the usual slow speed and everyone was frustrated. It was taking the kids a lot longer to do their work and so the computer was free less time. Then when I could get on, it was so slow that I got way behind in reading my favorite blogs. If it seemed I dropped off on my commenting, know that I will be catching up now. Hopefully it's fixed. We had service people out here 6 times!!

It was an opportunity for me to practice patience. Hopefully, I didn't squander it.

The queenship of Mary (and my birthday:-)

Fifty-two years ago Pope Pius XXII proclaimed the queenship of Mary on this day.


Ad caeli Reginam
Encyclical of Pope Pius XII on proclaiming the Queenship Of Mary, 11 October 1954.
Excerpts from sections 1-40.
From the earliest ages of the Catholic Church a Christian people, whether in time of triumph or more especially in time of crisis, has addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven. And never has that hope wavered which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ; nor has that faith ever failed by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother's solicitude over the entire world, just as she is crowned in heavenly blessedness with the glory of a Queen.
From early times Christians have believed, and not without reason, that she of whom was born the Son of the Most High received privileges of grace above all other beings created by God. He "will reign in the house of Jacob forever,"[5] "the Prince of Peace,"[6] the "King of Kings and Lord of Lords."[7] And when Christians reflected upon the intimate connection that obtains between a mother and a son, they readily acknowledged the supreme royal dignity of the Mother of God.


It also happened to be the day I was born. I believe my mother named me Rosemary for this reason. Mary for her queenship declaration and Rose because it was the month of the rosary.

I had a wonderful birthday. The second graders whom I work with showered me with attention. (They sang Happy Birthday three times-- all smiles.) Cards, gifts, great food, Mass, confession... it was a great day!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Body Piercing

OK. While I'm on a roll of superficial topics...what about body piercing?

I draw a distinction between pierced ears and other kinds of piercing. I don't know if that's because pierced ears are so common or if it's because I know that a pierced earlobe is much less likely to get infected than pierced cartilage, etc. I have pierced ears myself. My daughter has an additional hole up higher in the cartilage which I don't especially like. (my adult daughter) It did get infected several times before it healed, by the way.

But tongue piercing, nose piercing, nipple or navel piercing (!!) these I put in an entirely different category. These acts seem like mutilation of the body to me. Lip piercing!! Yuk! They are also, I understand, rather dangerous because of the risk of infection. But medical issues aside, what is the appeal here? Is is a mark of personal courage? A demonstration of the ability to endure pain? I can kind of understand what they're saying, if that's the case. But why is there a need to communicate such a message? Is it a mark of the suffering times we live in? I personally find viewing bodies that are pierced to be an unpleasant, jarring kind of experience. Maybe others do not have that reaction. Maybe they think it's handsome.

Incidentally, don't get me started on Notre Dame, but I have never seen a Notre Dame student with body piercings other than ears. Why is that? Because of my personal prejudices I like to think it's because they're all too smart for such things. My daughter says it's because they're just kind of a preppy group. :)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Is bald beautiful?

Where did bald men get the idea that having no hair at all was more attractive than having a little hair. I'm wondering if younger women think differently about this than I. I just don't get it. How could that shiny cue-ball looking head be more attractive than one adorned with at least a little hair? If slightly balding is not attractive isn't completely bald even worse? I guess I don't think totally bald men look good at all, and I'm wondering why a lot of men apparently do think they look good completely bald. Is it to show they don't care that they're balding? (yeah, right.) Sort of an atitude that says....I'm so tough that even though I 'm balding I'm going to show the world I don't care by shaving all my hair off. I bet I'm over analyzing this. My 21 year old daughter says some completely bald men are more attractive than they would be if they were just partially bald. This is particularly true, she says, if the guy is quite young and starting to bald. Anyway, how's this for a trivial post. LOL

Friday, October 06, 2006

Enduring tears and pouts

Just because someone is angry does not mean that I have done something wrong. Nor does it necessarily mean that they think I have done something wrong.

My child crying does not mean I have made a parenting mistake or sinned. Sometimes my child is crying because I did the right thing. I set appropriate limits or denied permission for something they really shouldn't be allowed to do. I must judge my actions based on what I really think is right and not on the reaction of others, even my children.

By nature mothers try to keep their children happy. But when a child is crying because I did the right thing, I must try to simply endure the awful feeling of observing my child's distress and not try to fix it. I think this enduring is particularly difficult when the "child" is an upset teenager. Teens are so good at manipulating and justifying their behavior or their requests. As a mom, I then start to question my judgment. That's when I pray for wisdom that I will decide what God, wants even if it is not what my teen wants.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Spiritual Illuminism

Thomas Dubay in "Deep Conversion, Deep Prayers" writes on "spiritual illuminism".....

"On the supernatural level this disease shows itself in the conviction that 'I have a special light from the Holy Spirit; you do not. Therefore I am right and you are wrong.' I like to call this form of the aberration the priveleged-pipeline-to-God idea. One can present to this person objective evidence from reason, Scripture, the teaching Church, brilliant theologians, and, once again, no dent is made on the illuminist's mind. The reaction is the same: 'I know better; you are wrong.'....It is clear that disagreements with an illuminist's spouse, relative, friend, coworker or parishioner will go nowhere until humility enters the picture-- and that requires conversion."

I assume that Dubay is talking here about opinions where there is not an objective right or wrong, situations where our reasoned judgement is required. Questions such as what is the best course of action here? What is God's will in this particular situation? How should our parish handle this? and so on... Do I think that there are some people who have nothing to teach me? Is my mental default position that I am always right? Sometimes, I'm afraid it is. May I always acknowledge that there is no one from whom I might not learn. And may I always remember to look to God and ask for answers, knowing that my own brain, my own wisdom, may own abilities to discern are pathetically limited.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Illuminism-- a blind adherence to one's own opinion

In Thomas Dubay's book, "Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer," he writes:

A seldom noticed root of conflict "is called illuminism. As far as I can tell, the idea is practically unknown in secular circles, and yet the reality is not rare. The word, illuminism, comes from the Latin for light: lumen. this illness, and it is part of the original wound, comes in two forms. On the natural level it is the conviction of some people that their ideas, their opinions, their preferences are automatically superior to those of others. When one talks to an illuminist, evidence contrary to the latter's view has little or no effect on his conviction. Even if the evidence is compelling, it does not penetrate his mind or will.

I found this passage very interesting. Could illuminism be the explanation for why abortion advocates are not interested in pre-natal development, or rather, why they act as though such information is irrelevent to the discussion? Is it because the evidence doesn't matter? My opinion is my opinion no matter what evidence you present, no matter what the truth might be? I understand that Dubay is saying that such attitudes stem from the fall, but what is the motivation of a person who maintains such a belief, I wonder. Is it egoism? Pride? Perhaps self-defense if facing the truth might just be too painful? I think when I was younger and really quite stupid I was indeed guilty of this. I hope I am not now...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Happy Birthday Jim!!

Happy Birthday Jimmy!!!!
Today is my dear son Jim's 15th birthday ( The unborn baby of several posts ago.) I can't believe he's fifteen and in high school, for heaven's sakes. He's taller than I am. (Course, those of you who know me know that's not saying much.)
Jim has a heart of gold. He would do anything for anybody. I've never seen a child so self-sacrificing. He frequently gives up things for others, without anybody even knowing it. I've actually had to talk to him about the importance of also treating himself well. And this from a teenager!!
Must be all those prayers from his godmother, Patti Anne!!
Oh Lord, please bless this child in a special way on this his birthday. I thank you for the gift of being his mother. May he be your good and faithful servant all the days of his life. May Your grace and Your peace always be upon him.
If my daughter helps me, I may be able to post a photo of Jim and me tomorrow. (As the mom makes little tiny incremental baby steps into technology. LOL)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Prayer for Robert, an abortionist

Please pray for a man named Robert who performs abortions. He used to run an abortion clinic right around the corner from my house. For years many people prayed it would close, both onsite and off. Finally, with permission, the exposed Blessed Sacrament was brought in front of the clinic for a prayer service. Robert actually invited some of the people praying to come in and pray with him!!

His clinic closed recently but he opened another in an adjacent town where numerous prayer vigils and protests have taken place. A friend of mine has been talking to him. She told him that Jesus has mercy and forgiveness even for him and he started to cry. At the end of their prayer he made the sign of the cross. When my friend asked him if he had been raised Catholic he acknowledged that he had.

Please pray for this man who, in spite of the horrific acts he is committing, is nevertheless a precious son of God. Oh Lord, please soften this man's heart. We thank you for how you seem to be working in his situation. Please close his clinic, Lord, and please bring him back into union with your Church. May all of heaven's angels and saints pray for the Lord's grace and mercy to fall upon this man. Shall I ask for more? Lord, please bring him into the pro-life movement.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Speak up for the Unborn!!

Suzanne invites all you pro-lifers to join the BigBlue Wave Pro-Life Blogburst today. Write 2 or 3 paragraphs on the rights of the unborn or the morality of abortion on this, the day of the Life chain. In case my link above doesn't work you can link to Suzanne at bluewavecanada.blogspot.com.

It's time to speak up for those who can't speak for themselves. Think of those utterly innocent, incredibly beautiful little humans that some would have us believe are nothing but a blob of tissue! Let's speak the truth!!

BigBlue Wave Pro-Life Blogburst--Rights of the unborn

Satan has so clouded the truth about the humanity of the unborn that what should be simple biological facts are now twisted with empty rhetoric about rights and freedoms. Freedom is always limited by our collective sense of what should not be allowed because it is wrong or impinges on the rights of others. These are laws. The proponents of abortion want to skip the discussion of the morality of abortion. All living things belong to a species. The unborn are alive. They belong to the human species. They are entitled to human rights. It's that simple.

The experience that most impressed upon me the humanity of the unborn was when I thought I was in the process of miscarrying my fourth child. All the signs were there. I was sure he was gone. Tearily, I went in for the ultrasound. I looked at the screen only to see my fully formed baby of 7 weeks gestation turn two consecutive full somersaults. He then continued to move so much it was almost impossible to measure his heart rate with the cursor. I was dumfounded with joy.

In two days that 7 week "fetus" will turn 15. He's a freshmen in high school and plays junior varsity football. He's one of the fastest guys on the team. Why am I not surprised!! I can't help but think of all the would be high school football players whose lives were taken before their birth because so many people will not acknowledge the simple truth of when life begins.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Could it have been an angel?

Did I see an angel?

One very harried day I had all of my children as well as some of their friends at Wendy's. The situation seemed very chaotic as we sat down, distributed fries, filled little cups with ketchup. etc. I was feeling overwhelmed. I had 8 or 9 young children with a lot of energy and the responsibility was weighing upon me heavily.

I suddenly noticed a lovely woman in a pure white suit sitting right next to us, looking intently at me and smiling. I had not seen her come in. My first thought was, "You're awfully brave sitting that close to us." I was thinking of her suit and our ketchup. She continued to smile and simply said, "Your children are very well behaved." Immediately I felt so encouraged, as though a burden had been lifted from me. I don't remember her leaving. The image of her smile came back to me many times that day and in the days and years to follow.

Could she have been an angel? The fact that, many years later, I still have a recall of a woman who "just happened" to sit next to us at Wendy's makes me think maybe she was.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Feast of the Archangels and Mitchie's birthday!!

"For he will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways." Psalm 91:11

Happy Feast of the Archangels and Happy Birthday to my dear nephew and godson Mitchel. Mitchie was born 11 years ago today and was named Mitchel without his parents even realizing that his name is a derivative of Michael and that the day was the Feast of the Archangels. How's that for Divine Providence? May the Lord bless Mitchie in a special way on this his 11th birthday!!!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

More language abuse

And while we're on the subject, let's not forget the following euphemistic expressions:

Food and water do not represent extraordinary medical care.

Denying a person water is not "letting them go." It is dehydrating them to death. Giving a person food and water, even through artificial means, is not simply "postponing the dying process." Food and water are basic human care!!!

The media so distorted and twisted the truth about what happened to Terry Schiavo that one of my daughter's college professors actually thought Terry had been on a respirator. My daughter said, "Respirator! Who said anything about a respirator? A feeding tube is not a respirator!"

We have to keep speaking the truth.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Manipulating Words

Words most definitely frame the debate especially on the abortion issue, as we have been talking about.

I once wrote a letter to the editor of my local paper on the abortion issue and was horrified to read it published with every use of the word "baby" changed to "fetus" and every use of "pro-life" changed to "anti-abortion." I was livid. I called the editorial page editor and gave her a piece of my mind. I pointed out to her that the choice of words is important and the words she used were not my choices!! I accused them of manipulating the debate... etc. Anyway, words are very powerful and the pro-death forces have manipulated them more effectively than we have thus far. Of course, it is difficult to make the best use of words when editors deny you the freedom(!) of choosing your own. I think they lightened up on their "editing" after that. (Probably didn't want another raving maniac calling them. (smile) I'd like to say that I tried to stay calm but that wouldn't be true.)

I love all you pro-lifers out there!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Abortion and the Abuse of words (continued)

Because of the abuse of the language, the word "choice" has come to mean, in the minds of many, something unconditionally positive. As Dubay says, all sin is a matter of choice. Thieves choose to steal. Liars choose to lie. Murderers choose to murder. It is what we are choosing that matters.

Furthermore, all law is a limitation of freedom. No one is free to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. And there is a right and a wrong and an absolute truth. Proponents of abortion have cloaked the issue in this rhetoric of freedom in order to manipulate the debate away from the reality of what an abortion is. We must redirect the discussion to the actual truth. It is about babies and whether or not there is ever a time when they should not be considered human beings.

A very "liberal" politician came to my door once asking for my vote. I told her I try to vote only for candidates who believe the unborn have human rights. I asked her if she believed the unborn are entitled to any human rights at all. It really threw her off guard as she tried to rephrase my question in a way that made her response sound like something positive. From that time on I resolved to try to talk about the abortion issue, whenever possible, in terms of human rights. After all, human rights and who is entitled to them is what the abortion issue is really about.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Abuse of the words freedom and choice

Thomas Dubay in "Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer" writes:

"In our contemporary massive inundation of talk and chatter in the print and electronic media as well as in daily life, strong, beautiful words have, through overuse and sometimes abuse, often lost much of their accuracy and power. A prime example are two glories of the human race: freedom and choice.....

Yet these two splendid words, freedom and choice, have now come to be used as euphemisms for the wanton destruction of innocent babies in their mothers' wombs. It is difficult to believe that advocates of abortion do not see that any sin is pro-choice, or it would not be a sin. The rapist is pro-choice, and so are the thief and adulterer and the liar. From a glorious word choice is now degraded to the level of a shameful cover-up....

Doesn't he say this well. It's so true. And we could think of many other examples as well. Yes, it is an abuse of language.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Notre Dame Football Analysis

LOL It takes an awful lot of nerve for someone like me who's still learning the rules of football to give a post-game analysis but here goes...

OK. Something was definitely wrong with Notre Dame when they played Michigan. I mean, really wrong. How could such a high ranked team look so terrible. Then, in the first part of the Notre Dame-Michigan State game they looked just as bad. How did they completely turn things around to come back when they were losing so badly and playing so poorly??

I'm going to speculate. Maybe the team got a little puffed up by their high rank at the beginning of the year. Maybe their humility slipped and they started thinking that they themselves were really something. I wonder if Our Lady might have withdrawn her hand from them. If so....

Perhaps Coach Weis, Brady Quinn, or maybe the team as a whole remembered who they are. Maybe they started praying. Maybe they turned the game back over to her. I wondered if they, in all sincerity, realized once again on whose team they play and whose image stands on the gold dome that we are reminded of when we see those gold helmets.

Maybe they looked heavenward and remembered to honor Our Lady of Victory.

Whatever happened, may it continue!! Go Irish!!!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Morning Demons

Do you ever wake up very early in the morning, earlier than you want to get up, yet still unable to fall back asleep? For me, it is this time when I am most vulnerable to those demons of the morning--- the "what-if" demons, the "ain't it awful" demons, the glass half empty (as opposed to half full) demons, the negative filter demons... I think you know what I mean.

At such times I often say the rosary, but it is often a desperate sort of rosary, a frantic intercession for some issue I've blown out of proportion. I need to recognize that at these times I do not think clearly. I'm seeing through a glass darkly.

I am going to try to rest quietly, to still my troubled thoughts, and focus on the presence of Jesus... perhaps while saying the rosary, if the mind won't stay still.

At adoration yesterday I read Psalm 17:15.

But I in justice shall behold your face;
on waking, I shall be content in
your presence.

May I be content in His presence on waking and throughout the day as well!!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Executions in Indonesia

From Catholic World News we read:

Vatican officials are mourning the deaths of three Indonesian Catholics who were executed on September 22 for allegedly masterminding a massacre of Muslims.....

.....prison officials also refused to grant the request of a priest to hear the men's confessions and celebrate Mass with them a final time.

How utterly lacking in mercy are the people who held these men prisoner. What harm, in their eyes, could have come from allowing them to see a priest. I hope I am not judging them when I say that it certainly looks like a decision stemming from pure hatred. May God have mercy on the souls of those who died and on the souls of those who inflicted this punishment as well.

His good and faithful servant....

Oh Lord, today, may I be your good and faithful servant. May I be under no delusion that I could be your good and perfect servant today. To feel that I must be perfect today in order to please you reveals an inner pride. I must be faithful and allow, in all humility, for your grace to mold me and direct me, knowing that I am utterly incapable of any measure of goodness on my own. Oh Lord, today is yours and I surrender it to you.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Boys and Girls are different!

Two of my boys are very close in age (23 months apart) and two of my girls are very close (20 months apart.) So when they were all young the two little boys would take baths together as would the two little girls.

We had an assortment of rubber duckies of all different sizes. The girls would pretend one was the father duck, the mother duck, the big sister, etc. The ducks were all used in pretend relationships. I thought it was so cute. The little baby ducks, who was taking care of whom, little conversations, etc.

When the boys got in the tub with the same set of ducks the play was entirely different. They used the ducks as projectiles. They lobbed them high in the air with the aim of hitting the boat at the other end of the tub. When I said, "What are you doing with the duck family??" They looked at me incredulous saying, "Duck family! Mom, these are bombs!"

I made a mental note to remember that these two sets of kids were not at all on the same page. Their brains are just not wired the same way. It's obvious to mothers that boys and girls are so different from the very youngest ages. It's incredible that the notion that the differences are all learned was ever taken seriously.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Thomas Dubay on ego-centrism

In "Deep Conversion/Deep Prayer Thomas Dubay says the following on ego-centrism:

I-ism turns up frequently in dishonest speech. Exaggerations,
caricatures, and plain lies occur to enhance the vanity and self-image of the
conversationalist. Domination in a meeting or in ordinary chatting can
serve the same purpose: my experience, my stories, my ideas, are more
interesting and important than yours, and so it is right that I go on at
length, perhaps even interrupting what you have to contribute.


At least in a blog you can't interrupt anyone. (smile) Something for me to think about.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

There is hope.

We're finishing drywalling in the family room. The computer is still covered with plastic which I remove when I blog, and now I am not receiving emails for some unknown reason!! I got up early this morning to write a post but I had such a headache and everything was disconnected for the drywall guy, and I just couldn't deal with it.

But the painting and wallpapering in my kitchen is finally finished!! Hallelujah! It looks so much better. I love it.

Soon, life will start to look a little more normal. There is hope.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Go Irish!!!!!! (Or why I love Notre Dame)

I am a graduate of University of Michigan. My father, my grandfather, and my sister are all graduates. And I live in Ann Arbor!

But I will be cheering for Notre Dame this afternoon. Why?

First of all, because the maternal instinct trumps all other affiliations and I have a son at Notre Dame who I'm just a little proud of.

I also love Notre Dame, as I've written about before, because when you walk on the campus you can feel the grace. I believe Our Lady's hand is on the school. I can think of no other explanation. The fact that there is also a spiritual battle going on at ND only confirms this belief. Where else would the demons be most furious but where her favor rests?

Throughout the administration, from the president to the dining hall workers, there is a kindness, a competence, a humility, and a courtesy that I have never experienced at any other university.

So..... Go Irish!!!!!!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Defending the Large Family

When I was quite pregnant with precious baby number six, a next-door neighbor of mine drew me into a conversation about world resources, water supply, overpopulation, etc. Trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, I assumed that any minute he would realize the inappropriateness of the conversation, given my condition. Instead, it became more and more clear that his choice of topics was intentional and my condition the reason.

I was flabbergasted. I tried to gently tell him that it was my belief that God provided for every baby he brought into the world, that he never gives us a little lamb without also providing a pasture. His response? "You can't use your religion as n excuse for your mistake."

I placed my hands on my bulging belly, all of the mother bear instinct rising hotter and hotter inside me. I no longer tried to be conciliatory. With all of the fiery don't-mess-with-me-for- another-nanosecond look that eyes can convey I told him, "I don't believe that this baby is a mistake. Nor do I believe that any of my other children are mistakes. I believe the world is better for their being here."

He backed down a little saying. "You do have nice kids." (Maybe the sparks from my eyes and the steam from my ears was having an effect.)

I went in the house and cried for two hours. I felt as though the legitimacy, the beauty, and the sanctity of my children's lives had been questioned. I felt wounded and furious.

I have forgiven this man. He didn't know any better. He didn't understand. They moved before the princess was born. I think he must have told his wife about his remarks because she sent me a lovely baby gift. I considered that his amends and sent them photo Christmas cards of all my children for several years. (with no malice, really)

God bless them both.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

If Heather can have 2 mommies why not 5 or 6 brothers and sisters??

Michelle at Rosetta Stone has a post describing animosity that some have directed toward a family of 15 children.

I mean, why the hate? Why the leaping to conclusions about what kind of people they are? I don't expect everybody to think this is a great thing (I personally don't desire to have 15 children myself, but maybe I would feel differently after I had another 5 or 6!). But this family is labeled as ultra-conservative, scary, religious freaks, bad bad bad bad bad. Basically, the accusation seems to be that by the very fact that they have "irresponsibly" had so many children, they were guilty of child abuse, neglect, and the ultimate sin of failing to expose their children to real life.

As a mother of six, I have received a number of negative comments about the size of my family. "Better you than me.", "Are they all yours." (Yes, thanks be to God.) My children once told me that they really didn't like it when people made comments like that. Can you blame them? The comments are insulting.

Children are a gift from God. There is no greater blessing on this Earth than to be entrusted with children. Why so much criticism of those of us who have been richly blessed? I guess the answer is that, sadly, many people do not know the truth.

Still, where is the cherished value of "diversity?" Apparently it's OK for Heather to have two mommies but not seven or eight brothers and sisters!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Fresh Smelling Laundry-- or Not!

If the scent of crisp, clean Spring air is the nicest way for laundry to smell, what is the worst way for it to smell?

How about the smell of a dead chipmunk in the dryer vent? (Sorry for the gross-out factor here.)

Yup. It actually happened. And my dear husband went out at 9:00 at night, (even though he gets up at 4:30am), removed the old ductwork, extracted the offensive remains, and replaced it with some hardware so shiny it looks like the tin man after his makeover. He also put in a one-way door so it can never happen again. Then, he moved the clothes from the washer to the newly rejuvenated dryer.

How cool is that? He will definitely have matched socks in his drawer today.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

More Advice to Myself

How do I avoid doing too much when there is simply too much that needs to be done?

Here's the scene:

I'm trying to make eight dozen cookies to feed the junior varsity football team before their game. (They get a healthy snack before every game and it was my turn). I'm also cutting twenty bagels in half, since cookies are kind of dessert, really.

Solution: Do one or the other, not both. Buy the cookies, if possible.

I'm trying to make the cookies while my husband is painting the kitchen.

Solution: Don't bake when your husband is painting the kitchen!!

My senior is filling out college applications and wants to know what years I was at U of M.
I can't think of even how to bake cookies much less what years I was in college!

Solution: Tell him you will look it up later. Don't try to figure it out. You're apt to add
something toxic to the cookies by mistake.

My daughter is person of the week in her class and wants me to help her find trophies, ribbons, certificates, baby pictures, etc. to take to school.

Solution: Collect them gradually and not while you're baking cookies. Be satisfied with an incomplete collection if that's all you can do

My husband points out that it doesn't look like we're going to have time to make and eat dinner before we have to leave.

Solution: Don't plan to make dinner when any of the above is happening. You know better. Order pizza, for heaven's sakes. (Or rather for your family's sake.)

All of the above were actually happening in the same afternoon. The long and short of my advice to myself is to stop trying to do every good thing that could be done. Recognize my limitations and the number of hours in a day. Have the humility to realize I am nowhere near perfect and pretending otherwise is an occasion of sin.

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11

September 11. A date that will live on in infamy.

How on earth did a group of human beings, created by God, become such madmen. They were evil incarnate. Their actions, their motivation, all seem so utterly beyond comprehension. Were they possessed? Had they allowed so much hatred to envelope them that they became evil itself? Who could justify killing innocent people for any reason whatsoever? How does one come to think of suicide as heroic? And the very scary question... how many more such people are out there? Apparently quite a few. May the Lord have mercy on them. May he reveal to them the truth. May love touch their hearts. And... through the intercession of Saint Michael, may all of their violent efforts be thwarted.

Mary, Queen of Peace, please intercede for our country and our leaders. May they be given wisdom beyond human understanding. May they lead us in the direction of peace and may we be protected from terrorism.

May all come to know your Son.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Brad Pitt, you can't be serious.

So Brad Pitt won't marry Angelina Jolie (is that her real name??) until the restrictions on who can marry whom are dropped. "Angie and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able," he said in Esquire magazine.

I could care less whether or not Brad marries Angelina. I'm a Christian and I am called to not judge others. But when an actor makes a public statement this inane I think he's fair game.

Brad, puhleeze. Did you actually say this to Angelina with a straight face??? (no pun intended-- really) Well, this gets you off the hook for a really long time, don't you think? Like forever? And I notice that when everyone is legally able, that's when you and Angelina will "consider" marrying. You're not even willing to commit to actually marrying then!

Brad, is this stand of yours going to bring about marriage rights for homosexuals? How, exactly? No one cares who you marry. And no one cares if you're in favor of homosexual so-called marriage. You remind me of John Lennon and Yoko Ono bringing the press into their bedroom so they could say on camera to "give peace a chance." They seemed to think that this statement of theirs would suddenly open people's eyes to the goodness of peace, and then people would try peace, and then there would be peace in the world. Even the diehard hippies had to snicker a little.

Brad, I think you just don't care enough about the woman who is the mother of your child to be willing to commit to staying with her forever. After all, what if you stop liking her? What if she starts to bug you? What if you had to personally sacrifice for her and your children?

What if you actually had to be a man?

Let's hear it for normal sized models!!

Have you heard about the skinny models who were kicked out of a Spanish pageant, Pasarela Cibeles? Organizers calculated the body mass index of each model and those whose BMI was not high enough were kicked out. They said they wanted an "image of beauty and health" and not an emaciated look. This story was from the Associated Press.

I say it's about time!!! Finally someone is thinking that a normal sized woman might be the kind to model clothes. If the buyers are normal, or let's face it, mostly overweight women why should the clothes be modeled by women who are so thin they look sick?

I would go one step further. Why not hire models who look like your average woman? Show us women wearing clothes that look good even though the woman has had several or more kids. Show us how we can dress with dignity in every kind of body shape. Course, that would require that there actually be designs with that goal in mind. I think a clothing designer who kept that goal in mind could make a lot of money. How many of us go shopping only to buy nothing and conclude that nothing looks good on us. We were out trying to buy clothes. If they gave us more choices that looked good on an average body we'd buy more, right? (Of course, I'm talking to those of you who don't, or no longer, where a size 4, etc.)

Anyway, let's hear it for the organizers of Pasarela Cibeles!!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Happy Birthday Mary, my mother and patron

Some of my earliest memories of the spiritual life involve Marian devotions. Our family sometimes said the rosary together.

My mother organized a neighborhood May crowning every year. All the kids who rode in our carpool to the local Catholic school would come. We had candles and a little homemade crown. Once my mother put the statue on a shelf and nearly set the house on fire when the candles started scorching the shelf above. We sang Marian hymns and all the moms would come to watch the procession.

I remember praying at Mary's side altar at St. John the Baptist Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Happy birthday, Mother Mary. Thank you for giving us your son. Thank you for being our mother. Thank you for your love and for all the times you have interceded for us. What a gift the Lord Jesus gave us from the cross.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Painting the downstairs.

My family room is all torn up. The kitchen is in disarray because we are trying to paint it a little at a time. And the living room is in chaos because stuff is moved out there from the other two rooms. It's been like this for several weeks now and I'm getting very, very frustrated.

OK. Advice to myself: This is an opportunity to develop patience. It is an opportunity to take an attitude of surrender. In some parts of the world people do not live in the peace and security that I enjoy. All I need to endure is a little (a lot!) of visual chaos that is temporary and of no consequence, except that it will eventually make my house look a lot better. This is a good thing. It is not something to grumble about. What a minor sacrifice to make for just a limited period of time. How unwilling I am to not have what I want, when I want it.

Tomorrow I will try to have a better attitude-- for my sake and for the sake of my family, and most of all, because the Lord has told me quite specifically to rejoice always.
God is good.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

True conversion

I'm reading a book called "Deep Conversion Deep Prayer" by Thomas Dubay. In speaking of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux Dubay says:



The young abbot was speaking to his community one day, and he made a remark that shocked me on my first reading of it. "There are more people converted from mortal sin to grace, than there are religious converted from good to better.".........What Bernard said of religious unfortunately is true in all states of life: bishops, priests, married men and women.......Bernard was saying that there are more men who give up serious alienation from God, mortal sin, than there are people who give up small wrongs, willed venial sins. And there are even fewer who grow into heroic virtue and live as saints live.

Perhaps this is because those who have fallen the farthest have the greatest appreciation of God's mercy. Or perhaps it is because so many attached to willed venial sins also fall victim to pride, believing they have less need of God's mercy. We so underestimate the importance of humility in spiritual growth.

Oh Lord, grant me a spirit of true humility that I might be open to all the graces you want to give me.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Living in the present

I heard this poem today:


Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is mystery.
Today is a gift from God.
That's why it's called the present.


I don't know who wrote it, I'm afraid, but I thought it was cute.

May I always remember to live in the present. Today is the only day I have. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow does not exist yet in time. I only have today. May I always live it with that understanding.





Monday, September 04, 2006

Papal Prayer Intentions for September


PAPAL PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR SEPTEMBER

VATICAN CITY, SEP 2, 2006 (VIS) - The Holy Father's general prayer intention for the month of September is: "That those who use the means of social communication may always do so conscientiously and responsibly."

His mission intention is: "That in the mission territories the entire People of God may recognize that permanent formation is their own priority."
POPE-PRAYER INTENTIONS/SEPTEMBER/... VIS 060904 (70)


Do you think the Holy Father's words, "the means of social communication" is a reference to social blogging? Like Myspace, etc.? Just a thought. Maybe it would include email, instant messaging, etc. too. Or is there some other obvious meaning that I'm not thinking of.

May the Lord hear these prayers of our Holy Father and may we all communicate online or otherwise conscientiously, responsibly, and in accord with the Lord's will.

My mother's birthday

Today is my mother's birthday. She would have been 82. She's been gone for two and a half years now, after having suffered from Alzheimer's Disease for a good fifteen years.

My mother was a devout Catholic. She was dedicated to her family and we always knew we could count on her. We always knew she loved us deeply.

She was a prayer warrior, a devoted intercessor. You could count on her focused intercession if you asked for her prayers. I frequently still do, and the results seem to indicate quite clearly that she is indeed in heaven.

My mother loved children and had no patience for those who would complain about them. She was a fierce defender of the unborn.

She cared for others. The world is a better place for her having lived, and I miss her very much.