Monday, June 29, 2009

Prayers, Please!

Wednesday, we will be heading west for the next round of vacation travel. It's about a 20-hour drive. We break it up into two days...still, that's a lot of driving!

Please keep our family in your prayers, and I'll report back when we return.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Life Well-Lived

As everyone is already aware, the pop star Michael Jackson died yesterday. It has caused shock waves around the world. In spite of all the turmoil over allegations of child abuse, etc., in recent years--and in spite of the obvious alterations to his appearance over time--his popularity has continued. From what I understand, he was preparing for an upcoming tour. The concerts set for Europe have been sold out for months. He has had a following since he was a young boy, singing with the Jackson Five. And yet...

Did the fame and money bring him happiness? Was he surrounded by loved ones when he died? Did he know peace? If one were to judge by the outward signs, it would seem that the answer to all of those questions is a resounding NO. It's so sad.

Another death that occurred yesterday was that of Farrah Fawcett. I remember the hoards of young men who clamored for her pictures and posters after "Charlie's Angels" came on the scene. She was definitely a beauty, with the body to go with the face. And yet...

Her marriage to Lee Majors ended in a divorce. Her looks, body, and money could not stop the effects of the cancer which eventually took her life. Was she happy and peaceful? Hard to say. I know that I was so saddened to see pictures of her, as the cancer treatments, time, and age marred the beauty of her younger years.

It all causes me to ponder a few things. For one, the lives of those placed into stardom's bright light certainly are nothing close to normal. It is highly unusual to hear of a marriage that lasts more than one or two years. It is "normal" to hear of the children of stars, or child stars themselves, getting into all kinds of trouble with sex, drugs, alcohol, etc. It is not unusual to hear of affairs. The list could go on, but I'm sure you would concur. What a sad lifestyle. And to have it plastered all over the Internet, television, and newsstands...incredibly difficult to deal with one's life problems in that context.

And it also leads me to this thought: How important is a life well-lived? My kids are at VBS this week. Each year, they study the heroes of our faith. As they learned about Mother Teresa yesterday, they learned the importance of a life of giving to those who are "the least" among us. Caring in love for the sick and dying was Mother Teresa's life mission. She did not seek fame (though there are few in the world who have never heard her name). She sought only to minister to others. She didn't seek money. She was a small little woman, with no "Hollywood look" about her at all. Her thoughts on having the riches of this world? "Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own."

And that, my friends, is a life well-lived. It is one we would all do well to ponder and imitate. For in the end, the only claim to fame we should desire are the words of the greatest Hero of all: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

I do not sit in judgment over Michael or Farrah. I cannot imagine the pressures of the lives of those in the spotlight. And, as Mother Teresa once said, "If you judge people, you have no time to love them." I only know that what the famous have is not my desire.

May we all strive for the "life well-lived" and to remember these words of Mother Teresa as well: "Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Vacation Adventures

Thanks to all who sent anniversary and "happy vacation" wishes!

We headed to Michigan about 1 1/2 weeks ago. We spent the weekend with my in-laws. We went to our niece's open house. That was a great time of seeing friends and family members we haven't seen for quite a long time.

Monday was an interesting day. I had only planned to do some laundry and re-pack. As it turned out, my mother-in-law got sick that morning. Thankfully, by noon, she was feeling much better.

Hubby and I headed north on Tuesday morning, leaving the kiddos with their grandparents. We stopped off in Frankenmuth, MI, another of my most favorite places to visit! We didn't do much, but really enjoyed the time to just walk around, look in the stores, and just be together. We left there and went on to the in-laws' cottage. The boys and the in-laws joined us there that evening.

After a night of little sleep (4 people in one bedroom...), hubby and I headed north again on Wed. (our 20th anniversary!). It was raining (pouring at times), but by the time we got to Mackinaw City, it was only overcast. We boarded the ferry in St. Ignace, and got to the island before noon. Anyone who knows me, knows I don't do well on little sleep. My nerves were bad that day. I felt a little better by the time we got over to the island, though. While touring St. Anne's Church, I suddenly got very, very sick. Thankfully, some parishioners were meeting there at the time, and one of the women was a nurse! She assisted me to the ladies' restroom, and made sure I got a cool cup of water. Someone else made sure my hubby knew where I was. After about half an hour, I was doing much better, and we went on our way.

We spent the night at our bed n' breakfast, which was just okay. I must definitely say, too, that the food choices in St. Ignace are not the greatest. Our food was overpriced, and not very tasty. We did take a nice walk along the boardwalk afterward, though. It's right on the water, and a nice way spend an evening! We also walked over to St. Ignatius of Loyola Church, and enjoyed being in the quiet of the church for awhile. It was beautiful.

The breakfast we were served the next morning was excellent. We had fruit cups with strawberries and bananas, followed by some type of egg dish, baked into a shell of Canadian bacon. Hard to describe, but very yummy! This was served with a side of ham and English muffin toast (bread that tastes similar to sour dough bread). Very, very good! And the service was excellent, too.

We headed south after checking out, and stopped in Indian River, at the Cross in the Woods Shrine. We stayed for noon Mass, had lunch at McDonald's, then headed back to the folks' cottage. When we got into town, we called ahead to see what they were up to. They were just about to take the boys on a boat ride. They held up for awhile, until we got there, and we all enjoyed a couple of rides around the lake. That evening, we had a wonderful roast dinner, then tried to have a campfire. I say tried, because the wood was still wet from the previous day's rain. We were able to get enough of a flame to roast a few marshmallows...but that's about it. Hubby and the boys played a little "baseball," then we headed the kiddos to bed.

We stayed about 1 1/2 days longer at the cottage, then headed back south to the Detroit area. Near the end of our trip, we got into some heavy traffic congestion on I-96, which was caused by construction. A few miles past the end of that construction, we were almost to the I-275 exit. A sign said, "275 traffic, keep right." So we did. However, shortly before the actual exit, we saw a flashing arrow...followed by barrels in our lane! Hubby's dad hit his brakes, then maneuvered around the barrels. We tried to do the same. We were coming to a stop, when suddenly we heard a loud screech, followed by two crashing sounds, and then we were hit! The impact forced the front of our car into the back of my in-laws van. SCARY! After a couple of seconds, we all got out to check out the damage, etc. Thankfully, my kids and in-laws were unharmed, as were both of us. Our vehicles didn't even show any real damage. However, the three vehicles behind us were not so fortunate. The car behind us had a little front-end damage, but the back of her car was demolished. The van behind her had more front-end damage, but the back of their van was smashed. The big van behind them...the front was a mess. The great thing, though, was that no one was seriously injured. A kind man had pulled over to see if all of us were okay, and to make sure the police were called (I had already called 9-1-1, though). In a few minutes, a pickup stopped. An off-duty police officer jumped out with his emergency pack and ran along the vehicles to make sure we were all okay, too. He stayed until the state police showed up. Also, a passing van full of guys hollered out to us, "Do you need us to call for help?" A couple of people from the one van did go in an ambulance, just to have some bumps checked out. Overall, though, it turned out much better than it could have, considering the amount of traffic and the situation!

Needless to say, by the time we arrived back at my in-laws' home, we were all pretty shaken up. Thankful, though, to be sure!

We spent a relaxing Father's Day morning attending church, having lunch, and then watching an episode of Perry Mason together (a new favorite of my kids now!). Then we headed home...and, thankfully, it was an uneventful trip!

So there it all is, in a nutshell. Next week...we head to Kansas!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I just read this story on Yahoo! News. As you probably already know, abortionist George Tiller was murdered about 1 1/2 weeks ago. As usual, the pro abortion camp has made this a political issue, lashing out against pro-lifers as "extremists."

The group Operation Rescue has discussed buying the building Tiller used as his clinic. In response, the Tiller family's attorney said: " 'I'm just not going to respond to every irreverent publicity stunt or comment by these extremists,' said...Dan Monnat."

Buying a building is a publicity stunt? What???

The response from Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue: " 'We would love to see that place established as a center for life, one that nurtures and cares for babies, rather than taking their lives,' Newman said of Tiller's former clinic." Sounds more like reclaiming a territory for God to me! (Brings to mind the book of Joshua!)

Dr. Tiller (and I used the title with some trepidation, as doctors are sworn to protect and preserve life, not take it) was definitely an extreme man with extreme views. Killing babies for any reason is murder. Killing them in the third trimester of pregnancy? Brutal and Hitler-ish.

But for someone to murder him? As one of my sons said: "If they are pro-life why would they murder someone?" The ends do not justify the means. If someone claims to be pro-life, they should be pro ALL life. Right?

The early Church was a shining example of this. They were persecuted and afflicted in ways we cannot even begin to fathom. Yet they showed love to the very end of their lives. (This is one thing that has always bothered me about the movie, "The Robe." I love the movie, except the scene where the Christians basically start a riot to break one of their own free from prison. Killing Roman soldiers was NOT the way Christians dealt with their persecutors!)

So as the Church today, we should show love in every situation, too. Taking a man's life is not how we promote LIFE!

And yet, we still must take extreme measures at times to protect life.

Your thoughts?

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Good News

Fr. Joe's intubation (ventilator) has been removed, and they are working to get his lungs to do their job again. Praise God!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

New Update

I don't really have much new to tell you on Fr. Joe's condition. He is slowly making very small improvements. He is still considered in critical, but stable condition. Thank you for your continued prayers. He has a long road to recovery ahead of him. Please pray for our parish, too. As you can imagine, this is difficult for all of us.

We had a prayer service for him last Thursday. We are having another one this Thursday, June 4, at 8:30 p.m. EDT. Please join us in praying!

Thanks again for all your prayers and words of encouragement.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Father Joe

He is still in critical, but stable condition. Your prayers mean so much. I'll try to give more updates as I'm able. THANK YOU for praying!