4.27.2011

Wordless Wednesday

For more Wordless Wednesday, click on the photo.

4.25.2011

Catching Up

Thank-you all for praying for my godfather.  He is still with us, but it's still not looking so great.  More information has filtered down and it is clear God was watching my Uncle Fred.  He collapsed in his front yard while talking with my aunt and a neighbor.  The neighbor called 911, while my aunt performed CPR.  He went into cardiac arrest 3 times and the heart catheterization showed his 3 main arteries to be 90% - 100% blocked (not the initial 40% that I had heard - like I said, news filters down to me).  He was scheduled for triple bypass surgery on Saturday, but an infection was found (most likely from aspirating during CPR) so it was postponed.  But then, yesterday, while celebrating Easter we learned that he had also suffered a stroke.  No one seems to be exactly sure when the stroke happened, but we do know that he is on blood thinners for right now, which means no bypass surgery for at least a month.  All of this to say, thank-you for the prayers, and if you wouldn't mind, please keep praying.
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I hope you all had a blessed Triduum and a Happy Easter.  I love the Easter Vigil, and I always think it is my favorite Mass of the year, but then I think of the Triduum as a whole.  From Holy Thursday through the Vigil, it truly is one long story being played out.  As the weight of Lent settles in on Thursday night when Jesus becomes the servant and leaves us with the new covenant, and then on Good Friday when all seems lost.  Slowly, hope returns as we listen to stories of our salvation during the beginning of the vigil.  And then, you can feel the weight of Lent lift as the lights turn on and the Alleluias are finally sung.  It is surely the holiest time of the year, and without a doubt my favorite days.
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Our priest's homily was about an Alaskan parish that put on a play for other local churches of the Easter Story and had all of the children change roles each time they put on the play.  It was discovered that the little boy who played the stone, wasn't willing to change roles.  When he was asked why, the boy answered 'I get to roll the stone away.  I want to be the one who sets Jesus free.'  Father Mark then reminded us that we are called to set Jesus free.  That if we stop at the cross, we've missed the best part.  Yes, it is important to take up our cross.  But we must keep going and get to Sunday.  Jesus's story didn't end on the cross, and ours isn't supposed to either.  At a time when it was hard to celebrate, as my heart was (and is) heavy with worry for my uncle, this was a beautiful reminder to set Jesus free.  To ask for Jesus to be near instead of asking why.
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We are teaching our first NFP class starting this week!  It is via Skype with just one couple, but both The Man and I are very excited.  The couple is eager to learn and will be getting married in June.  I want this ministry of ours to be HUGE, but I'm working hard to be sure to appreciate the small steps and to trust in God's timing.  So far, so good.
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I've been trying to get all caught up on your blogs (I'm behind from about last Wednesday) and I'm loving all of your reflections the Triduum and the prayer buddy reveals.  Well, sort of on the prayer buddy reveals, I think my blog list will be getting a lot longer and I already get so so far behind!  Please forgive me if I don't comment on all of your recent posts or if there are random, late-to-the-party comments.

4.20.2011

Prayers Please

My godfather had a heart attack today.

It doesn't sound good.  He passed out and my godmother performed CPR until the ambulance arrived.  Then there was a life flight helicopter ride.  A heart cath showed all of his arteries to be 40% blocked.

I went for a run to clear my head.  It didn't work.

Please keep my Uncle Fred in your prayers.  Please.

4.15.2011

Quick Takes

1.  Tomorrow is my first 5K of the season.  The forecast?  Rain, wind, thunderstorms, and probably a tornado watch.  I'll still be running - and offering to hold Sara down if she starts to blow away.

2.  Thank-you for all the kind words on my reflection on my morning at the 40 Days for Life vigil.  Nikki, the coordinator for the Pittsburgh 40 Days for Life blessed and humbled me by asking if she could repost my words and pictures on their blog.  Please visit and read about the amazing stories of changed hearts that have happened.

3.  The Man is out of town this weekend visiting his BFFs (do guys call them that?).  I am planning a surprise that will make me earn points towards 'best wife ever'.  I can't tell you what it is because The Man reads this - I can tell you it's NOT doing the laundry.  I will be doing that, but I already told him that I'm doing it, so it won't be a surprise.

4.  I can't believe Holy Week is upon us.  I've learned that I 'do lent' better if I give something up that I'm going to get back on Easter Sunday.  I've done well with not spending extra money on unneeded items, but I'm not gonna lie, I'm missing the anticipation of that first 'sweet' on Easter morning.

5.  Thanks for all the prayers for my pup.  Kali is doing really well.  Her stitches were removed this morning and the results were as good as we could have expected.  The cancer was contained to the tumor and the only treatment we are to do is Pepcid AC - not because Kali has an upset stomach, but because it has anti-inflammatory properties that can prevent a recurrence of any tumors.  We do have one more test to wait on the results of, but everything we've seen so far says her lymph node needle aspirate should come back negative.

6.  Our town has a new Catholic Radio Station and I am loving it.  Especially the Catholic Answers show that is on every night when I drive home (or to wherever I'm headed).  When I'm actually going straight home from work (rarely), I find myself sitting in the driveway listening to it - and when I'm headed somewhere else, I wait in the car until the last minute.  I'm not ever in the car for a really long time, so I don't know if it's just EWTN radio or if it's a combination of shows or what.  Really, I don't care, I like it either way.

7.  And now a question for you - those of you who are NOT Catholic, what is the #1 question you have about the Faith.  For those of you who ARE Catholic, if there was one misconception about the Catholic Faith that you could clear up for either non-Catholics or Catholics who don't-really-get-it (as I was), what would it be and how would you clarify it?

Be sure and visit Jen for more Quick Takes and have a great weekend!

4.12.2011

The Invisible World


I was given the opportunity to review The Invisible World: Understanding Angels, Demons, and the Spiritual Realities That Surround Us by Anthony DeStefano.  I was looking forward to reading this book, but as soon as it arrived, The Man made eyes at it that made it clear that he wanted to read the book.

So, being the awesome wife that I am, I offered to let him read it and do the review.  While he was reading, I would ask 'how is it?' and always got a positive reply.  And when I asked him 'would I like it?' (which is code for 'am I smart enough to understand this book, remember I work with children under 4?') the answer was a definite 'yes!'.  Both of those make me excited to finally get to read the book myself!

So, without further adieu, here is a review, by The Man, of The Invisible World.
The Invisible World is a much needed reminder of what's really important in today's busy life style. Some of these concepts are often out of reach for many people, Anthony Destefeno cleverly and clearly brings these ideas within everyone's reach.  The book is divided into good categories and comes together extremely well, building on each previous chapter.  His thoughts are well organized and using many analogies, metaphors, and personal experiences explains this intangible idea of an active spiritual world that constantly surrounds us.  If Christians really have faith in their teachings, than this book explains many of the consequences that follow, including sensational subjects like angel's, and demon's.  Even something as complicated as what we are made of is rendered in a manageable and organized way.  I've often stumbled over the understanding of  grace, but here it's a beautiful and moving experience which I hope to accomplish as much as I can.  Now, after reading The Invisible World, it's helped to open my eyes to this busy, struggle for Love and set aside some other worries that come from our physical existence.
Special thanks to The B & B Media Group for the free copy of the book.

And if you'd like a video sneak peak, here you go:


4.11.2011

The Line...between Life and Death


I guess I looked the part.

I was dressed in jeans and my WVU hoodie.  I was alone and probably looking a little stressed.  I hesitated as I stepped into the cross walk, unsure of exactly where I was going (even though I had driven by first - it looks different on foot).  I clutched my purse and my eyes darted from one side of the street to the other; wondering where do I go exactly and will I need to let someone know I'm here?  I was still more than a block away, but I immediately noticed the bright yellow vests that Abby Johnson had described in Unplanned.


And then a man approached me, hand outstretched with some sort of pamphlet of information. ''Please look at this before you go in there."

Huh?

"Oh, no, I'm actually here to pray."

And it began.

The man (I'm embarrassed I don't remember his name) smiled, welcomed me, and started to walk with me.  Over the next block I told him this was my first time participating in a 40 Days for Life vigil and asked if there was someone I needed to check in with since I had signed up for the 9:00 hour.  He introduced me to another man (again, horrible with names, next time I will take pen and paper in addition to my camera) who was holding one end of a 40 Days for Life banner.


Both men asked where I was from, when I said Morgantown they commented how far of a drive it is.  Funny how those from Pittsburgh always think it takes so long to get to Morgantown and those of us from Morgantown don't think it's that far at all.

I was told about 'the line'.  The line separating life and death.  The line that I was not permitted to cross while praying.  And as I was looking at the line, a young woman and what looked like maybe her mother walked into PP.  Instantly tears filled my eyes.  Was she going in for an abortion?  Was I ready for this hour?

There was a group across the street praying a rosary and as I was very uncomfortable standing right next to 'the line', I decided I'd head across and join them.  Thinking maybe I'd come back across the street in a little while.  I had remembered to take my rosary with me and I was glad to have a group to follow.  The lady who I needed to check in with was also across the street and while I wasn't worried about 'getting credit' I wanted to be sure they knew that the person who had signed up for the 9:00 hour did indeed show up.

From 9:00 to 10:00 on Saturday morning it was what I thought and expected.  And it was not at all what I thought or expected.  It was more.  so.  much.  more.

There were men and women.  Young and old.  All there, praying.



As I watched those who crossed the line, who entered PP, I found myself wondering about their story.  Wondering if they thought like I used to - that PP would offer them all of their options; that choice was necessary, even if it wasn't for me?

After I'd signed in, I stood next to two young girls holding a Gabriel Project banner.  "Hold it up proudly, they can see it from inside through the windows."  They can?  "Yes, they can."  And the girls smiled and held their sign up proudly.  Their hope contagious.


Then there was a woman who crossed the street.  Arm-in-arm with her daughter.  One of the 40 Days for Life women, wearing a sandwich board sign, immediately approached them as they crossed.


At first, I couldn't hear her words, but I could hear the mother's response - and it wasn't nice.  She followed them all the way to the line.  Reminding the mother that it was her responsibility to protect her daughter.  Almost begging her not to do it.  She stayed in the street, just outside the line praying and calling out to the woman and her daughter.  Occasionally she'd turn just enough that I could catch a glimpse of her face from across the street.  The pain was visible.  And heart wrenching.

Tears filling my eyes as I let myself process what was going to happen.  My heart breaking as a daughter trusted her mother; her mother who was leading her across the line between life and death.  And a voice whispered to me deep from the pit of my stomach 'that's what I'd do if it were you.'  A flashback of a conversation from a ride in the car when I was in high school; when my mom and I discussed a friend who everyone suspected had had an abortion.  Maybe that's why this road to being pro-life was one I fought against turing down so hard?  Thank God it was never me.

A few decades of the rosary later and two girls about college age came out.  One of them was wearing a Duquesne sweatshirt.  If our Catholic campuses aren't reaching their young women, how can any of us expect to?

As I watched the coming and the going, those praying and those working, I couldn't help but notice that the PP escorts often looked our way and laughed.  But it wasn't a deep belly-laugh.  It was more of an uncomfortable laugh.  I wondered what they really thought.  I wondered if their hearts were being changed.


As the clock neared 9:45, I felt tugged back toward the other side of the road.  To move closer to the white line.  I thanked the man who had shared their vigil guide with me and told the girls holding the banner I would be praying for them.

And as I started to cross the street once again, I couldn't help but notice the irony.  The PP in Pittsburgh is on Liberty Avenue.


I put my toes on the edge of the white line, next to a lady who later would tell me she is 72 and stood up to the K.K.K all by herself in 1972.  I bowed my head to pray, keeping my eyes focused on the line between life and death.

As 10:00 arrived, I was surprised at how quickly the time had gone and a part of me was sad that it was time to leave.  I thanked the man who was holding the 40 Days for Life Banner for welcoming me so warmly.  I looked to see if the first man was still down the block across from the parking garage and was glad to see that he was.  It seemed fitting to say goodbye to him just before crossing the street for the last time.  This time, I was walking much more confidently and he knew exactly who I was and why I was there.  He greeted me warmly.  I thanked him for his help and for welcoming me so kindly, saying 'God bless you,' as I walked away.

No, God bless you.

And with that I crossed the street for the last time and prepared to head home.

Forever changed.

4.09.2011

Walking the Walk


A couple of weeks ago, I started to 'talk the talk'.  Today, I'm walking the walk.

I'm going to Pittsburgh to pray in front of the Planned Parenthood there as part of the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil.  In fact, I've set this to publish while I'm on my way up the road.

I've felt called to do this since my first visit to the 40 Days for Life website.  At first, it was kind of a 'that might be a thing to do' and then it became something that I just couldn't get out of my mind.  I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little nervous and a lot intimidated by what I will experience.

Tomorrow, I will celebrate my 32nd birthday.  But before I celebrate, I will pray for those babies who will never have their birth day.  Please join me in prayer.

4.08.2011

Quick Pics

1.

The White House - landscaping truck and all.  Taken when I visited Nicole and Sara last month.
2.
WWII Memorial

3.

4.
Nicole and Sara enjoying the view.

5.
Our awesome NFP Teacher Teachers - Joe and Cinda.
6.
The Man enjoying the extra leg room thanks to the many empty seats on our flight from Houston to Atlanta.

7.
The gray patch is where she was shaved and the line in the middle is her incision with the stitches.  She's doing awesome!  Now we are hoping that all of the cancer was removed - results by next Friday.

Have a great weekend and be sure to visit Jen for more Quick Takes!

4.02.2011

Bible in 90 Days


As you know I've been reading the Bible in 90 Days.  Well, it's day 90 - and I'm finished!  Just finished to be exact.  I got a bit behind this week (can't imagine why), but I was determined to finish today, if it meant I was writing this at 11:59pm.  Being that it's 3:07pm, I'm pretty excited!

I do need to go back and read the books of the Apocropha as this schedule wasn't created using a Catholic Bible, but to say I made it from Genesis to Revelation feels pretty good.

The one thing that stands out to me most is the stark contrast between the tone and feel of the old testament and the new testament.  God's love, when taught and spoken from God himself (through Jesus, the Son) becomes so much clearer than when taught and spoken through mere mortals.  The letters of the new testament, written by those who walked with Jesus are beautiful and still so very relevant to life today - 2000 years later.

As I started this journey, I did my reading partly because I wanted to and partly because it was 'on the schedule,' but as the days passed, I found myself wanting to read and know what came next.  There was a hunger for God's word that I've never experienced before.  Even during the times when I got behind, I read some every single day.  Sure, somedays it was only a sentence or two before falling asleep and being hit in the forehead with the Kindle, but it was still something.  If I carry nothing else away from this, I want it to be this hunger for His word.  In the immediate future of the coming days, I am looking forward to reading 'the rest of the story' in the Apocropha.  After that, I am going to use my New Catholic Answers Bible as a guide and read and study each of the questions posed.  And for once, I am excited about picking up the Bible and reading and studying it instead of completely overwhelmed and intimidated by the prospect.  For that, I am extremely grateful.

To Amy at Mom's Toolbox - God bless you.  This is an incredible journey on which you guide us.  Thank-you.

4.01.2011

Quick Takes


1.  I am very thankfully NOT in the airport this Friday.  Our trip to Houston was great.  I am still processing the whole thing, but I can tell you that it surpassed any expectation I could have had.  Not only are we ready to get our first NFP Class Scheduled, but the entire trip was just incredible.

2.  We did get to meet Alison!  See?  She made a sign for picking us up at the airport!  I was so excited to actually be meeting her that I forgot to take a picture AT the airport.

3.  Tomorrow, there is nothing on my calendar.  Nothing.  Can I just say how happy that makes me?  I plan on spending some quality time with my PJs and finishing up my Bible in 90 Days Reading.

4.  There will be more on this topic, but this morning it really started to sync in just how long 12 years is.  That is how long I was on 'The Pill'.  I will shout the NFP message from the rooftops if it prevents just one woman from ever being able to say the same thing.

5.  We got some bad news today, it could have been much worse though and we are grateful that it's as good as it can be.  Kali has a mass on her side and while she was at the kennel last weekend, we asked them to look at it and biopsy it if necessary.  The did a needle aspiration biopsy and we got the results today.  The results were in between worst and best case.  It is not just a fatty cyst as we were hoping, but rather a malignant mass.  It likely is contained to the location where it is, but to be sure on Tuesday Kali will go for a regular biopsy that will remove the entire mass, tissue 2 cm around it, and a needle aspiration of her lymph nodes to see if it has spread.  It likely has not because she's not experiencing other symptoms.  If you're not a dog (or pet) person, this may seem crazy, but please say a prayer that all the 'bad' is contained to this mass and will be removed on Tuesday.

6.  As I'm sitting here contemplating a day ahead of nothing on my schedule, our Lost box set catches my eye.  Sarah, I think you gave me the push I needed to start watching it again - thanks!

7.  I've been so busy this week I know I've been neglecting my blog commenting - I've been doing a lot of reading on my phone and praying for you all.  If there's something I missed that you'd like to share (with me and everyone else) leave a link in the comments :).

Have a great weekend and be sure to visit Jen for more Quick Takes.