Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Thoughts to Myself on Lent

Remember, Rosemary, that you are dust.....I remember.

Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving

Prayer-- Try to say the rosary with the family or some part of the family every day in Lent.  Continue praying the Examen Prayer daily.  ( I am just finishing a CD series of talks by Father Timothy Gallagher on the Examen Prayer-- St. Ignatius of Loyola's Teaching on finding God in the Busyness of Daily Life.  I have found the Examen to be very fruitful in my spiritual life.)  Pray several times throughout the day.  Keep up with my two adoration hours.

Fasting-- I will do some kind of fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays.  It may be not eating between meals.  It might be liquids and bread only until dinner.  I'm not sure yet.  I may give up sweets.  Dinners on Fridays will be simple.

Almsgiving--  I'm going to clean out my closet and give the clothes I don't wear to St. Vincent de Paul!!!  I will encourage the kids to do the same.  I will give to every street beggar I can (as in, if  I have the money in my purse. ) I will give to specific charities. 

I will also do some spiritual reading.  More on that to come.

May the Lord bless us all this Lent.  May he show us each our path to holiness.  May we come to realize how very much we are in need of His mercy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More moments of Grace

I had so much to say yesterday to you dear intercessors that I forgot to mention several grace filled moments at the U of M Health Center.

Not only did everything go smoothly but my brother was in a very good mood, considering the circumstances.

Once when I was in the ladies' room I heard a knock on the door.  As I said, "Just a minute," I hear a man's deep voice saying something about needing to clean the restroom.  The voice sounded suspiciously like my brother's so I just laughed.  Still, a part of me wondered....was it someone else?  I opened the door to see him standing there laughing and demanding, "How did you know it was me?"  ( How did I know?  54 years of history with this guy.  LOL)

He also wanted to get a DVD of the esophagram he had had done that morning at 10:30.  I didn't want to burst his bubble by saying that I thought there was less than a 1% chance of his getting that today or any day, really, without jumping through major bureaucratic hoops.  So we went down to records.

He opened the door to what appeared to be a rather dimly lit room.  He closed it again abruptly with this shocked look on his face declaring, "There's surgery going on in that room!!!" I just laughed.  He knew I wouldn't fall for it and he also knew it would make me laugh.  It did.

We walked up to the desk and Rich presented his request.  The man said,  "And when was this done?"  I thought here it comes, he's going to say they don't even have it yet and send the request in writing in about a week,etc.

No!!  The guy says, "Sure!  Just give me a minute to make a copy."  Then Rich says, "Could I have two copies?"  I'm thinking no way is he going to get two copies.  The guy says, "Sure, no problem."

It's amazing what can happen when you have people praying for you.  And I am now repenting of every complaint I have ever had against the U of M Health System.  They were wonderful!!.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A cloud of grace

Thank you all for your prayers for my brother's appointment.

We had one of the best experiences we have ever had at the University of Michigan health system.  It was like a cloud of grace was following us.  Both of us felt it.

The U of M is a big place and can be kind of confusing to find your way around.  We've both been there many times but, still, we would have to look up at the signs and think for a minute about where we needed to go.  Every  time we did this someone would approach us and say "Can I help you find something?" or "Where do you want to go," and then give us directions.  It must have happened 5 or 10 times!!  Everyone was so helpful!

My daughter the nurse had the day off and so she was able to come with us.  This was a great blessing.

I met my brother in the cafeteria and we had some good laughs before the appointment.

We went into the thoracic surgery waiting area and my brother had sat down for probably less than a minute when they called him back!

The doctor was very patient and gave us a lot of information.  He seemed very capable and smart and good.  I think he must have spent a good half hour with us.

When my brother left the parking structure the parking attendant made of point of asking how things had gone for him and wishing him well!  Can you believe it? (Was that an angel?)

So the experience of the appointment was tremendously grace-filled.

However, the doctor does think he needs an esophagectomy.  But he explained the surgery completely and it does not involve opening the chest cavity as we had thought.  He would spend a week in the hospital but no time in intensive care as long as there were no complications.

My brother will seek another opinion because it is such a big decision, but I think he is leaning toward having it done.  If he decides to do it, they could schedule in 2-3 weeks!!!  

In the meantime, Rich is able to eat some very small portions at a time and he keeps drinking Ensure to keep his weight up.

Thank you all so much for your prayers.  Rich knew a lot of people were praying for him, including my e-friends, and I think he was very aware of the consequent grace.  God bless you all!!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Surgeon Appointment Today

Today I am going with my brother to speak with the thoracic surgeon about what his options are.   
Rich is pretty worked up about this, as am I.

I appreciate your prayers.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pope Benedict speaks to Speaker Pelosi

As you all probably know, the Vatican has reported the following on Nancy Pelosi's meeting with the Holy Father

"His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in co-operation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development.

God bless the Holy Father who, with the mercy of Jesus, spoke the truth to Nancy Pelosi. May her heart be moved and brought to repentance. And may all those Catholics who think Pelosi's position is compatible with Catholic moral theology take heed. Lord have mercy. May the light of your truth shine forth on this issue.

A new source of delight!

I bought this new bird feeder the other day and hung it on my porch right where I can see it from our front window.

I filled it with some seed I bought at Meijers.  But, so far, I have seen no birds come to it.  (No squirrels either, thankfully).  It's only been two days.  Either the birds are coming and I'm missing them or they haven't discovered it yet.  I guess two days is not very long.  

Maybe they don't like this combination bird seed?  Maybe they just haven't noticed?  I got this style of feeder because I'm especially hoping for cardinals and the man at the store said this feeder would work well for them.

Well, here's hoping I will soon be feeding my feathered friends :-)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Weight Loss Wednesday

This is the honest truth.

I forgot to weigh myself this morning.

Now, I grant you, I was not expecting good news.

Still, I honestly forgot to do it.  (Denial, maybe?)  teehee

So I have no accountability numbers.  I may post them tomorrow.  I might wait until next week.

Thanks to all of you who have been so encouraging to me in trying to lose these last 5-10 pounds.  You're wonderful.  In fact, I have found doing this every Wednesday and reading what you all say to be as encouraging to me as Weight Watchers (except it's free and I don't have to go anywhere...)  Still, since I've been kind of stuck here for a bit, I may go back to Weight Watchers too.  I only have maybe two pounds more before I can go back and not have to pay since I'm a lifetime member.

Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

After weeks of bitter cold weather we are finally seeing temperatures in the twenties and even the thirties.  Today is sunny and that always makes a feel a little warmer.

When we were no longer in single digits and the temperature went up to the high twenties the kids wanted to start wearing fleeces and sweatshirts, instead of the warm winter jackets!!  It actually felt so warm in contrast to what we were used to that we did feel like going lighter.  It was so funny.

I do love the snow.  The brilliant white, the sparkles, it's just so beautiful and when it gets just a little warmer and sunny like it is today... you can almost like the winter.....Still, Spring will be nice.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Prayer Request

(Rich is on the right in the darker blue, hubby on the left)

Please pray for my brother Rich.

Rich is my only brother, just 13 months older than I am.  Although our views on life and our belief systems are quite different he is still my good buddy.  He is a very genuine person and no one can make me laugh as hard as he can.  He's very funny.

OK.  Here's the deal.  He has a disease of the esophagus called accalasia.

From time to time he has trouble getting food down his throat.  He always has to eat slowly because gravity is doing maybe as much work as the esophagus.  It's been a challenge for him for a long time.  In the last few weeks it has gotten a lot worse.  He can barely get any solid food down.  He's losing weight, trying to get his calories in with Ensure.

Unfortunately, all they can do for him is remove the nonfunctioning part of the esophagus (about 1/3 to 1/2) and pull his stomach up to attach it to what's left.  They have to open his chest to do this, I believe.

Well, it looks like he's going to have to have the surgery.  Please pray for wisdom for the doctors and peace for my brother and his children.  He is a widower so I will be going to a lot of his appointments with him.  Please pray too that he will be able to have the surgery soon so he doesn't lose any more weight.  And, of course, that the surgery will be a success.

Could you also pray that he will feel the love of God surrounding him.?

Thank you, blogging friends !!!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Not feeling very well...

I'm not feeling too well.  My stomach is just not right.  Maybe I have a touch of something.  I've been taking it easy all day.  Haven't had anything to eat.  Just broth and coke to drink.  

I think I need to treat myself a little gentler.  

For example, while the above photo may not exactly look like the counter in a spa, it is my own little home version of relaxing indulgence.  I have my little bottle of lavender bath, my insulated glass of ice water, a scented candle, and reading material.  Add a tub of hot water and I have, right in my own home, the means to unwind and take some peaceful minutes for myself.  

I don't have a jacuzzi.  I don't need a jacuzzi.  A tub that is a little deeper would be nice.  But I'm happy with what I have and a hot lavender bath for twenty minutes while reading things that interest me is sometimes just what I need.

I have learned the hard way in my life that it just doesn't pay to never fill the pitcher from which is poured all that I do for my family and others.  It's important.

Here's wishing you all a wonderful weekend and Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

If we want to stimulate the economy by pouring money into it, why not just divide the amount in the "stimulus package" by the number of tax payers in the country, give it back to the tax payers, and let them spend it on what they want.  

It would not cost us any more-- just the same amount.  

Am I missing something?  Isn't this a better idea?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Weight Loss Wednesday

Accountability Numbers
This Week: Down two pounds
Overall: Down ten pounds

You may have noticed that I didn't post numbers last Wednesday. Let's just say there were too many Cheezits in the house and I didn't want to talk about it. I think I'm back on track now.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I know you've probably had enough but just in case....

In case anybody out there wants to hear my son John play you can listen to him here.

This is not his latest concert. The clip is from the inauguration of the new EMU president. There is a short intro (about 30 sec.) by the president and then John's piece which is about 2 and a half minutes.

The piece he's playing is a Chopin Etude which he played as an encore piece at Friday's concert.

Monday, February 09, 2009

John's Concert

John gave a wonderful concert on Friday night.  

He played for 45 minutes, all memorized.  My oldest son drove a six hour round trip from South Bend to be there.  So our whole family was there.

Was I proud?  Yeah.  (Just a little:-)

This is the two year old who threw a temper tantrum in his car seat when I put a children's tape on the tape player.  "CHOPIN!!!!" he screamed, tears rolling down his cheeks.  I turned around in disbelief and asked, "You want to hear Chopin?"  John, such a good kid even at two, nodded.   Needless to say, I said, "OK.  We're listening to Chopin," and I put on the Chopin tape we had.  I looked in my rear view mirror to see John, smiling happily now, and moving his fingers in the air as though he were playing the piano.

My maternal mental note?  Make sure this kid gets piano lessons.  The mental note was unnecessary though because he started begging for piano lessons when he was three.  We started him at four.

Blogging and real life friend Ruthann came with her husband and dear son Ted.  It was so good to see her.

Thanks for your prayers.

I have a video clip but haven't been able to post it yet.

Friday, February 06, 2009

My favorite niece....

This is my very favorite niece.  (OK, she's my only niece, but she's my very favorite nevertheless!)

She has the most beautiful red hair in the world, whether it's  in its naturally curly state or straightened as it is here.

Last night I had the pleasure of watching her play basketball.  She was awesome.  She's a fast, intelligent, energetic player.  Loved watching her.

We surprised her by showing up at her game.  When I walked into the gym she said she thought to herself, "Wow, that really looks like my aunt....."  and then..."Wait a minute...."

We don't live in the same town so it's not often that we can get to games like this.

hubby and my brother

AND, we were able to go out to eat together afterwards.  It was great fun.

Cousins gotta love it.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Satin Hands-- I love it!!!!

All of my adult life I have had trouble with my fingertips cracking in the cold weather.   Throughout every winter I have had one and sometimes two or three band aids on my fingertips.  They would crack quite badly sometimes even bleeding.  It was a little cross to bear, painful when they first cracked, but easily healed with band aid protection and sometimes a prescription cream.

I'm using past tense here because this winter they have not cracked once.  Why?  This year I have been using Mary Kay Satin Hands every night.  It's a three product set.  First you use the emollient, then the hand scrub, then the hand cream.  My hands have never been better.  And what a great thing to be able to have all my fingers band aid free.  (There are a lot of things that are hard to do with bandaged fingertips.)

I like Mary Kay products.  I have used them for quite a few years.  Mary Kay herself was a strong Christian and it seems to be a very good company.

I have recently learned more about this company because my daughter has become an independent Mary Kay beauty consultant.

Would you seek advice on makeup/skin care from this woman?  (teehee)  I do!  And she's been a great help.

Anyway, I had to put in a plug for Satin Hands because I have found it to be such an amazing product.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

This is my new favorite prayer spot in my house.

It's in my bedroom overlooking the backyard.  I can keep a cup of tea on the windowsill.  It's actually an old kneeler that I found in the laundry room of my parents' house.  I don't think they used it for anything.  No one else wanted it.

On a sunny day like today, it is a very peaceful place to kneel and pray.

It's just the right size for me.  God is good.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

John is givng a concert!!

My son John (piano man) is giving a concert next Saturday (2/7) in the afternoon.

He will play:

  Scarlatti- Sonata in f minor, 

Scarlatti- Sonata in Gmajor

Beethoven- Sonata in E flat

Chopin-- Etude  Opus 25 no.2

Liszt-- Mephisto Waltz

Casadesus-- Toccata Op.40

It's free and open to the public.  Email me if you want to come and need information :-)

And if you think of it, maybe say a little prayer for him?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Lemonade Award

Angelmeg from Transcendental Musings has given me the Lemonade Award!!  Angelmeg, thank you so much!

"The Lemonade Award is given to 10 others who show good attitude (the good kind!) or gratitude." 

 I have not given this award to blogs with great attitude if I know you have already received it.  (May apologies to those who have already received this award and I missed it:-)

Mrs. Jackie Parkes at Catholic Mom of 10 Revisited

Cropangel at Cropangel Thoughts

Ellen at Salome Ellen

Barb at SFO Mom

Michelle at Rosetta Stone

Mary Poppins Not at Crazy Acres

Little Acts of Kindness

I must give you an example of what I was talking about yesterday.

On Friday while teaching gym to 6th and 7th grade boys I observed the following incident.

They were all playing basketball.  One boy who I'll call Joseph apparently held the ball a little longer than his teammate would have liked.  Teammate, who I'll call Mark, being a normal, competitive young boy hollered, "Throw the ball!!"

Joseph, who has other challenges in his life, teared up, threw the ball, and backed away from the court clearly not wanting to play anymore.  Seeing Joseph crying I came over to see what had happened.  Mark explained and then, obviously trying to make amends said, "Come on, Joseph.  Come on!  You have to play.  The team needs you!!!  Come on!"  He was gentle in tone and earnest in his encouragement.

Joseph rejoined the game.  I was touched by this incident.  These kids care about each other.  Mark(not his real name) could have easily reasoned, hey, what's the big deal.  All I said was to throw the ball.  But he didn't.  He knew this wasn't about basketball or whether Joseph's response was reasonable. Someone's feelings were hurt and Mark just did what he could to make it right.

At the end of class I made a point of telling Mark what a good thing I thought he had done.  I told him that's just what Jesus would do.

Mark just nodded and ran off to his next class.

Little acts of kindness so warm the heart.