Sunday, August 31, 2014

Quick Takes: Barely on time, but full of good stuff!

1. Sooooo, here I am, doing so much better and back to normal (whatever that means)! It's funny how much I have leaned about myself (not always pretty!!) and also about God. I'm still pondering it all, and it's been a rich source of spiritual growth, even as I would not wish panic attacks on my worst enemy.

There is the fun irony of how NaPro Technology has helped me get relief from my peri-menopause symptoms. Why ironic? Because, as longtime readers know, my blogging came about because of the support of the IF (infertile) Catholic bloggers, who took me (a crazy fertile) under their collective wing. These ladies were often helped by the amazing medical treatment pioneered by Dr. Hilgers at the Pope Paul IV Institute in Omaha, who has since trained many other doctors and health care workers. The philosophy of NaPro is to pinpoint and treat the actual underlying disease or disorder in order to fix and heal the body so that it works properly, rather than simply to mask or override the problems by using IVF or ART, or by reflexively prescribing the Pill for every known female/menstrual disorder. 

I have a dear friend, a doctor and a fellow Catholic mommy, who is a NaPro practitioner. She used her knowledge to help me in my quest to feel healthy again, and suddenly it was I who was receiving (and teaching my husband how to give) injections of POI (progesterone in oil)! I never thought I myself would be the happy beneficiary of all the great NaPro innovation that I have been advocating for years. God is good!

2. I am so excited to report that for the first time in six years, I hopped on an airplane! I went to see both my daughters (and granddaughter) in Omaha! My mom and sister came with me from Phoenix, and my younger daughter, whom none of us had seen since her wedding, flew in from the east coast to join us for a baby shower that my elder daughter's wonderful mother-in-law and sisters-in-law were hosting! So, it was a spectacular girls' reunion! Omaha is a fabulous city with the nicest people ever and a stellar diocese, and I'm just gonna say right now that there is a reason that the zoo there is considered one of the best (if not the best) in the nation. Wow! Yes, there are a lot of exclamation points in this paragraph!!!!

What's that you say? You'd like to see photos of the amazing shower in which no detail was left unconsidered? Here are just some of the lovely touches that I marveled over -- it was like breezing through a Parisian fair:

Yes, that is a cupcake ferris wheel!

This was the coolest thing!
Cups filled with cotton candy, and we filled them with pink and/or blue lemonade!
The sugar dissolves in the lemonade, and voilĂ !

My daughter loves hot air balloons, and look at those little stuffed animals in the baskets!

Here is our incredible hostess, Kathy, who is the sweetest and most gracious woman in the world! We share grandma duties, proudly!

Loving grandmas! We can't get enough of our little Felicity!

And what an incredible treat to finally meet -- in person -- the woman who found the perfect "match" for my daughter when I asked her to scout around! Dear Mary, one of those original infertile bloggers I was just talking about (now with a precious little daughter of her own) was able to come to the shower!

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match! She did!

Without beautiful Mary, there would be no Felicity...

Thank you to all the amazing people who made the fun and joy possible. I sure do miss them, but now I feel like I have a home away from home in Omaha, Nebraska.

Can't wait to see my girls again soon....

3) Speaking of amazing people, Teresa is a dear friend of mine, and has been since I knew her as a mere girl in my kids' first Catholic school. She's now all grown up, an incredible intellect, a pure and holy soul, and currently hoping to join the cloister, to pray for all of us in silence and love for the rest of her life. 

Before she can enter the cloister, she has to retire her student loan debt. If you feel moved to help her, in any amount, I promise that your generosity will be returned to you tenfold in the power of her prayers before the Throne of God. I vouch for her personally... she is the real deal, and she will flood us with the grace she merits in her vocation of prayer and sacrifice. Read her story:

The Sparrow Has Found a Home

An excerpt:
A cloistered nun commits herself to a particular monastery where she prays and sacrifices for the rest of her life. This life of prayer is her "job", and therefore, she does not leave the walls of her monastery except for a grave reason.   
So, when I visited the monastery, I had no intention of joining. How could this boisterous Catholic gypsy remain in any one place for the rest of her life--and in silence?? Yet, I went anyway. Who could have imagined that it would be here that I would finally find what I had sought so ardently? 

If you cannot contribute any funds, please pray for her. Like I said, she is the real deal, and a fervent believer that prayer is more powerful than any gold. Your prayers will connect you efficaciously in the Communion of Saints.
I love this woman!!! 

4) While I'm at it, I want to draw your attention to another friend who has a time-senstive need to meet his goal for a special project. Catholics, you all know the wonderful, wacky, brilliant Patrick Coffin, from Catholic Answers! He has teamed up with a quality movie-maker to make Call of the Void. In Patrick's words:
[The movie] is about a man named Steve who struggles with a very difficult past. He has had, among other things, a bad car accident, which not only haunts him but has led to delusional thoughts. We can’t give away the ending but a major theme is the cost of refusing the help of other people and the burden placed on us by the gift of free will. Not everything Steve sees or says is rooted in reality. We the audience do get a glimpse by the end, of what’s real and what’s a figment. The film stands in the tradition of noir, with a touch of suspense.
To finance the film, he's started a Kickstarter campaign that will get things rolling. The culture is screaming for something different, and here's our chance to help. Even one dollar is accepted and appreciated, and every level of donation comes with a gift or gifts if the goal is met (if the goal is not met, your keep your money). Only days to go, so click below for more info and a video:

Call of the Void

5)  So, up at the top I mentioned that I've been pondering all I have learned, spiritually, after my two-week long, basically unrelenting, panic attacks. One of the big issues that came up was the issue of trusting God in suffering. So when Connie Rossini introduced me to her newest book, Trusting God with St. Therese, I told her I'd be thrilled to promote it. 

Talk about suffering. Connie has a sad story to tell:

On June 10, 1974, our family was driving to the annual Catholic Charismatic Conference at the University of Notre Dame. We began our journey in Spokane, Washington, where we had spent a weekend on retreat. Just outside Missoula, Montana, the car rolled over three times, landing in the median of the freeway. I was in the back with the seat down and no seat belt. So were two of my siblings and two friends. 
I ended up with stitches in my leg and a bump on my head. My sister Terri, who had been sitting next to me, was thrown from the car and died. She was ten years old. 
Why did God let this happen? Didn’t He know where we had come from and where we were going? Hadn’t He heard Terri’s voice, when she had volunteered that morning to pray for a safe trip?

It's the kind of tragedy that everyone fears, because it hits right at the heart of trusting what Jesus told us. When someone has been through a horror of that magnitude and comes out with deeper faith and peace, I listen to her. And when she pairs her experiences with the experiences and teachings of St. Therese, I can't resist.

Are your fears, weaknesses, doubts, and anger keeping you from intimacy with Christ? Do you struggle with despair? Let St. Therese teach you perfect trust. 
Learn how Therese of Lisieux trusted God through tragedy, scruples, spiritual darkness, and physical suffering. Connie Rossini pairs episodic stories from the saint’s life with memories of her own quest to trust. With Sacred Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and insights from psychology, Rossini leads readers to surrender their lives completely to Jesus. 
Practical and accessible, Trusting God with St. Therese includes questions for reflection that make it perfect for book clubs and faith-sharing groups.

The books seems awfully timely to me.

6)  I know this is a couple of weeks old, but I just love seeing our universal Church, uniting us near and far. We are all members of the same Body of Christ:

7) These brothers need a home! Trey and Trent are very close and love each other dearly. The younger boy is 9 and has some mild special needs. The older boy is 11, developing on track, and has no special needs.

Can you see these boys as members of your own family? They would thrive with the love of a mom and dad (and siblings!).

For more information on Trey and Trent, click here.

Please pray for them and pass along their information to your friends. That's the way these kids find their way to permanent homes.

Have a blessed Labor Day, and thanks to Jen for hosting!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

It's been awhile!

Or at least it seems that way to me!

I'm not gonna lie, I've had a rough couple of weeks. Lots of massive life changes and crises all at once (maybe six?), and thus I experienced my first real (and for a time, unrelenting) anxiety/panic attacks. Peri-menopause/menopause hormonal changes can help to fuel such things in a perfect storm of stressors, as I understand.

I know that many of you can relate.

At the moment, I'm feeling much better (thank you Jesus and Mary!), but to combat any future attacks, I'm still working on all fronts: Physical, mental, emotional, and definitely spiritual -- anyone else sense the growing spiritual warfare lately? And thank goodness for holy priests who make house calls for deliverance prayers!

Meantime, my eldest daughter and my grandbaby flew off to join husband/daddy in Nebraska, and that makes both daughters gone within just a few weeks' time. I am missing the feminine around this place more than I thought I would (I cannot understand how some folks believe there is no difference between male and female!!!). I've also begun homeschooling my 3rd and 4th grade boys this year, and it's going well, praise God. And in just a few short days, I will become a student again after 25 years, as I begin my graduate studies at Holy Apostles College and Seminary.

All that to say... forgive me if my blog posts lag while I adjust to the many new normals around here.

In the meantime, those who were asking can check out some of my younger daughter's recent wedding photos at this link:

Here are some of my favorites that are not included on the site above (there were over 600 pictures we received; so many favorites, but I can't post them all):

Mother and daughter.

Daddy's little girl (and best of friends).

I love the following two photos. Three branches of military represented. My husband's Great Uncle Alan is 97 years old, a WWII veteran who still fits into his Air Force uniform! God bless him, and God bless all those who serve.
The groom's brother-in-law (Army), the bride's great-great uncle (Air Force), the groom (Navy)

How I love who's in the background of this one! St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!

Oh, and grandbaby pictures, you say? Here you go:

Such a look! Cracks me up.


Thanks for your prayers as I adjust to all of my new circumstances. I know I'm not the only one in a blogging funk, but I hope to be back before long!