Friday, April 30, 2010

I Still Have Hair far. :o)

My sister wants me to get it cut short before it starts coming out, so it won't be as much of a shock, and so it won't be as messy to clean up.

I've had good day, except for early this morning when I threw up for the first time during this whole thing.

I went to the hospital to have lab work done, and my doctor called me this afternoon and said things are progressing as they should.

I'll be neutropenic soon, meaning my white cells will be so suppressed that I won't have the ability to fight off infection, so I'll have to be very careful.

Josh and I stopped at PetsMart to pick up cat food for Miss Maggie, flea meds for Mom's little dog Teddy, and some toys for the the puppies. Josh got them 2 big tennis balls and a tough, long braided rope toy. When we got home, he threw the balls for them for awhile and they were sooo excited! Then he threw one in the pool, to see whether Sister would jump in after it from the side. She didn't at first; she would go to the steps and swim in. But after awhile she got so excited that she would leap into the water from wherever she was when he threw the ball. It was so fun to watch; my cheeks hurt from grinning. :o)

Katy doesn't love the water the way Sis does. She will go onto the steps, but usually stops short of swimming. She was trying to reach her ball from the side and Josh gently nudged her into the water, and she swam all around chasing the ball. But she would rather wait until Sissy gets her ball out, then try to steal if from her. :o) They are a riot!

I napped for a little bit, and then decided to come out on the patio with my computer where I can hear the birds singing and smell the neighbor's freshly cut grass.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Chicken Vegetable Soup

I made soup for supper tonight and it was so good! I used the broth from the chicken I cooked Tuesday for the King Ranch casserole, and adapted a recipe from Kelly's blog.

I took off the layer of fat on top of the broth, so it was virtually fat-free. There were little pieces of chicken left in the broth. I lightly browned some garlic in olive oil, added the broth and got it simmering, then just threw in whatever bits of frozen veggies I had in my freezer--some peas, corn, and cauliflower. I let it cook until the cauliflower was done, made a pan of cornbread, and voila! Supper is served. :o) Easy, yummy and healthy.

CJ Hats

For those who would like to know where Kelly got the little caps she gave me, here is the link to CJ Hats.

Mary at CJ Hats has lots of different styles to choose from, and they are all so cute!

*edited to add a note from Kelly:

I got that silk scarf, the white hat and the cute bathing cap from another site. Can't remember...oh,!

Thanks for the correction, honey!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Story of the Little Knit Cap

My daughter Kelly has met so many talented and caring artists through her online Etsy shop, Biologie.

One of the Etsy vendors that she buys from found out that Kelly was looking for the little caps for me, and she sent Kelly the little knit cap seen here.

The lady's name is Rebecca, and her Etsy shop is Raige Creations.

The amazing thing about the little knit cap is that it belonged to her mother, who survived lymphoma for 15 years before succumbing to bladder cancer. The hat was knitted by Rebecca's mother-in-law, who is a thyroid cancer survivor. And the little yellow flower was crocheted and added to the cap by Rebecca herself.

Rebecca sent the cap to Kelly, telling her that she thought that I could use it, and the love that went into creating it.

My heart is touched that Rebecca wanted me to have something so precious to her as her mother's cap.

Rebecca, please know that I treasure the little knitted cap, but even more, the heart of a person who has such love and compassion for a stranger and her daughter. Thank you with all my heart.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

An Outpouring Of Love

I am being bombarded with love.

Kelly came over yesterday afternoon, and brought me 2 cute skull caps, one red and one black, a cotton visor cap, a gorgeous silk scarf and a black swim cap so my bald head won't get burned in the pool this summer. :o)

She is so sweet and thoughtful. She wants me to be prepared for when my hair comes out.

See the little knit cap with the yellow crocheted flower? I'll tell you about that one in another post in a bit. It has a special story.

While Kelly was here, I got the mail and there was a lovely card from my cousin, with a beautiful poem. I've already received so many cards and notes from friends and loved ones.

When Kelly got ready to leave, we opened the door and there was a UPS package on the porch from my sister Johnnie, in Kansas.

Here is what I found inside. A very precious prayer blanket, made by a sewing group at a church in Wichita, Kansas. Their ministry is called the Resurrection Prayer Blanket Ministry, and they meet for a few hours a month to construct the blankets, praying for the sick as they work.

There is no charge for the blankets, but people may donate money or materials.

A special prayer for each recipient is prayed at each meeting, the rosary is recited at each meeting, and the blankets are blessed at a Mass. "The entire process of creating and distribution of these blankets becomes a prayer."

Isn't that the most wonderful idea ever? I do feel covered in prayer when I snuggle under the blanket. (It's about 36 x 42 inches--you can't really tell by the picture).

Johnnnie said that two of her co-workers' sisters with cancer took their blankets with them every time they went for chemo. I plan to do the same!

In addition to the blanket, Johnnie sent a wild pair of PJs with a note that says, "Everyone needs flashy PJs for the hospital!" :o) They're cute.

And she sent a beautiful crystal St. Peregrine rosary. St. Peregrine is the patron saint of people with cancer. I love the rosary!

Thank you, Kelly and Johnnie! Your thoughtful, loving kindnesses made my day.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Late Night Chitchat

Mass was beautiful today, a High Mass with the schola. Sandi went with us again. It's been a blessing to have her here the past two weekends. We sat in back today, in case I should have to go out, but I did fine and was able to receive Holy Communion with no problem. After Mass Father Kloster said, "You are a fast recoverer." I told him I didn't know about that, but I didn't want to miss Mass.

We stopped for fast food rather than going to a restaurant. We ate at Mom's, and I managed to eat most of my catfish, mashed potatoes, gravy and biscuit from Popeyes.

Sandi stopped by on her way out of town. One of her friends had given her a list of Scripture verses, a little booklet about healing and some other spiritual readings for me. Sandi said that her co-workers and friends are praying for me. My youngest sister has told me the same thing. I'm very touched to know that so many people are keeping me in prayer, even though they don't even know me.

Sandi and I shared a soda and sat and chatted about childhood memories for awhile. I think there is such a strong bond between siblings who grow up sharing the same experiences.

After Sandi left, I wrote a grocery list and Ron went to the store while I took a nap. We had something to eat, watched some TV, and Ron went to bed. I dozed on the sofa for awhile, and now I'm wide awake.

Taking a shower is a bit of a challenge because I can't get my PICC line wet, so Ron has to help me put a plastic tube over it and tape it down. He does a better job than they did at the hospital. A shower makes me feel so much better.

Guess I'll go to bed and see if I can get some sleep. 'Night.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Happy Flowers

Earlier today when my sister and mom came over, they brought me some daisies. Sandi called them "happy flowers." I trimmed them and put them in a vase, but didn't take the time to try to arrange them until later in the evening.

Sandi, look how pretty they turned out! I added a few grape leaves and some of the jasmine from the backyard, and I love how they look and smell. I put them on my bedside dresser so that I can enjoy the fragrance while I sleep tonight.

Thank you so much!

Sweet dreams.

A Beautiful Saturday

It's been a beautiful day here in South Texas. The weather is perfect!

After a bit of a rocky morning, I'm feeling okay. My mom, my sister Sandi, son Josh and grandson Reece were here this afternoon. It is good to be home and have my family around me after my shorter than expected stay in the hospital.

Reece wanted to play outside, and then he wanted to go swimming, so his daddy turned the heat on low in the spa and let him play. He had a great time! Mom and Sandi had fun sitting in the shade next to the spa and playing with him and watching him. He says the cutest things.

Sandi said that she would like to have a cosmopolitan while we were sitting outside, so she, Ron and Josh went to get the stuff needed to make them. I didn't have any because of my meds, and I rarely ever drink anyway.

Reece got out of the spa after awhile, and he and I watched some Lego truck reviews on YouTube. He loves to watch some man review the toys that he buys for his son. He calls the man who does the reviews "Mr. Man." :o) He had a popsicle while he watched.

They have all gone now, and Ron and I are sitting outside on the patio. He mowed the backyard and now he's relaxing with a cigar and some tea while I'm computing. Birds are singing everywhere, and our little wrens have been coming in and out of their little house. Life is beautiful.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I'm Home!

Wow, I feel so incredibly blessed to have so many wonderful people praying for me! I've been contacted by so many family members and friends who have told me that their churches are praying, their Bible studies are praying, their co-workers are praying, message boards members are praying--it's just amazing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I got home from the hospital this afternoon. The first thing I did was go outside to see the puppies, and swallowed some kind of bug! Probably a gnat, but it made me cough and gag and my throat still feels funny. Weird.

I had my first cycle of chemo yesterday. I'm doing okay with it. They gave me pre-meds to help prevent nausea, and they worked pretty well. They sent me home with a whole sack full of medicines.

In the next few days and weeks I can expect to experience some continued nausea, fatigue, loss of hair, and possibly sores in my mouth and wherever there is soft tissue. The chemo targets fast-growing cells, and the cells in your hair, mouth, etc. are included. It all sounds distressing, but I can handle it, keeping in mind that these toxic chemicals are helping to make me well.

My doctors, nurses and techs at Wilford Hall were incredible! They are so kind, knowledgeable, and efficient. They know exactly what they are doing and I feel very confident that I'm getting the best care possible.

Father Kloster came to see me this morning. He stayed and chatted for quite awhile, then gave me Holy Communion. The time spent with him was incredibly precious to me. He also blessed my medals and rosaries, one mine and one Mom's that she brought to me yesterday.

While he was there, a little lady from the Chaplain's office came to see me. (I had three different visits from people from the Chaplain's office and received Communion from one of them, also). When Father opened the door, she had the most surprised look on her face. :o) She was German, and had a wonderful accent. Fr. Kloster is of German heritage, and recognized her regional accent immediately. They had a short conversation in German and it was fun to hear them and see their happy faces. She left, saying that I was good hands. :o)

Later in the morning I had yet another surprise visit, this one from the Chaplain from where my husband works. He had been visiting another patient in the hospital, who told him that I was there (someone Ron knows). So he came down to see me, too. We chatted briefly, and he asked if he could pray for me. He put his hand on my shoulder and prayed a beautiful prayer for my healing, and for the comfort of me and my family during this stressful time.

So you can see why I feel I had a blessed morning. :o)

I'll have 6 cycles of chemo, then they will collect my healthy bone marrow stem cells and give me another round of chemo. Then they will give me back my own healthy stem cells, and I'll be cured! All of it will take 8 to 10 months. I'll have 21 days or so between chemo cycles.

Of course this all depends on how my body reacts to all this medication.

Thank you to all of you have been and are praying for me. I feel your love and support and it helps immensely. I would be wonderful if a miracle happened, and I didn't have to go through the whole regimen, but God has a plan for me, and His will be done. I know that I can do anything through Him.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Novena to Blessed Stanilaus Papczynski

In comments to yesterday's post, Angela told me about a new Blessed, Servant of the Divine Mercy, Blessed Stanilaus of Jesus and Mary Papczynski. You can read more about him here.

If you have the time and inclination, would you please pray the novena for me? Thank you! (Maybe we can move Bl. Stanilaus one step closer to Sainthood and me closer to wellness). :o)

Novena for the Intention of Receiving Graces

through the Intercession of Bl. Stanislaus Papczyński.

At the beginning of the novena, awaken an intent for needed graces, agreeing to accept God’s will.


The Almighty has done great things for me (Lk 1:49)

Lord God Almighty, look upon Your Servant Bl. Stanislaus, who with utmost zeal took upon himself, in the foundation of a Religious Community, the work of spreading the honor of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of Your Son, grant us this grace, that we might continually praise You for the great things You have done for Your Saints and permit us to enter Life in the state of friendship with You and in unsullied chastity.

God, our Father, Who in Your unfathomable Providence gave us in Bl. Stanislaus a successful intercessor before Your throne, grant me (us) through his intercession the grace…., for which I (we) beg You, also grant that in accord with his example I (we) may faithfully fulfill Your most holy will. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be to the Father...

Most holy and undivided Trinity, You choose to make Your home in the hearts of Your faithful servants, and, after their death, to reward their merits with the glory of heaven. Bring it about, we ask, that Your servant, Bl. Stanislaus, who, enraptured by the mystery of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God, progressed with such fidelity and so sacrificially towards personal sanctity, and who made every effort to introduce and preserve the Kingdom of God in the hearts of his neighbors, be added by the Church without delay to the company of the Saints. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


His mercy is from age to age (Lk 1:50)

God, Righteous Judge, look upon Your Servant Bl. Stanislaus who generously and in every way hastened to assist the Souls in Purgatory, grant that we may zealously imitate him in this great work of mercy, especially toward the departed most dear to us and those who most need our spiritual help.

Prayer for a special grace
Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be to the Father....

Prayer for canonization


He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart (Lk 1:51)

O Jesus, our Redeemer and Master, look upon Your Servant Bl. Stanislaus who used every occasion to proclaim the Word of God and to bring spiritual support to people deprived of pastoral care, grant us the grace that we may attract other people to God through our own word and example of striving for holiness.

Prayer for a special grace
Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be to the Father....

Prayer for canonization

He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones (Lk 1:52)

Holy Spirit of God, look upon Your Servant Bl. Stanislaus, who throughout his life firmly defended the Catholic faith and showed willingness to witness to it by a martyr’s death, grant us the grace, that we may steadfastly grow in faith and courageously profess it in every moment of life.

Prayer for a special grace
Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be to the Father....

Prayer for canonization


The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty (Lk 1:53)

God our Father, look upon Your Servant Bl. Stanislaus who trusting in the help of Your Providence, in spite of many obstacles, by Your inspiration, founded and strengthened, the Congregation of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, grant us the grace, that we may distinguish ourselves by an unyielding trust in Your omnipotence, goodness, and fidelity, especially when You guide us on the difficult road toward the wonderful promises of Your love.

Prayer for a special grace
Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be to the Father....

Prayer for canonization


Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy (Mt 5:7)

God, Father of Mercy, look upon Your Servant Bl. Stanislaus whose love for You showed itself most eloquently in his daily and sacrificial practices of works of mercy, grant us the grace that we may always and generously imitate him in the active love of our neighbor.

Prayer for a special grace
Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be to the Father....

Prayer for canonization


Whoever listens to you, listens to me (Lk 10:16)

Lord, You Who are a faithful God, look upon Your Servant Bl. Stanislaus, who always formed his life and works in a filial submission to the Successor of St. Peter, grant us the grace that we may persevere in our faithfulness to God, the Cross, and the Gospels through our perfect obedience to the Church.

Prayer for a special grace
Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be to the Father....

Prayer for canonization


Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their is the kingdom of heaven (Mt 5:3)

Lord, You who love us, look upon Your Servant Bl. Stanislaus who freely embraced an austere and mortified life in utmost poverty, so as to give himself to You with all his heart and soul, grant us the grace, that we may courageously resist the craving of money and sinful pleasures, striving for the freedom of spirit in Your truth and love.

Prayer for a special grace
Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be to the Father....

Prayer for canonization


Take courage, it is I (Mt 14:27)

God, from Whom everything takes its beginning and to Whom everything returns, look upon Your Servant Bl. Stanislaus who, by the example of his life, gave us a model of total trust in Your holy Providence, grant us the grace that we may confidently place in Your merciful hands our past and future, our whole life, allowing You to lead us along the evangelical road to Your home in heaven.

Prayer for a special grace
Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be to the Father....

Prayer for canonization

Notice: it is recommended that this novena recited for a particular intention, be complemented by Confession and Holy Communion.

Intercession of Blessed Stanislaus Papczyński

During his lifetime, Fr. Stanislaus Papczyński was regarded by many as a special intercessor before God. Looking at this holy life, permeated with prayer, penance, and the thirst to know God’s will, they became convinced of finding in him an efficient intercessor before God. They often asked him to pray for their intentions, especially in the case of seriously ill people, and they obtained help. According to witnesses’ testimonies, there were even instances of resurrection of dead children during Holy Masses celebrated by Fr. Papczyński.

Numerous graces obtained by people who came to pray at Bl. Stanislaus’s tomb brought him the title of “renowned for miracles.” The Marian Founder was thus described by the Coronation Diet of King Stanislaus Poniatowski in 1764, in its petition to the Holy See for his beatification.

And this hasn’t changed during the past three centuries! In times favorable for the faith in Poland and Europe or in times of persecutions; when his tomb was easily accessible to the faithful or when it remained locked up and deserted, streams of unusual graces kept flowing down on those who recurred to his intercession. What is more, during the last decade one could easily notice the growing devotion to Bl. Stanislaus not only in Poland, but also on the American continent and in Africa.

Testimonies coming from different parts of the world suggest that particular prayerful help was given by Bl. Stanislaus to childless families, women with troubled pregnancy, addicts, dysfunctional families, and children and youth with learning disabilities.

We trust that as a new Blessed, Fr. Stanislaus, always so sensitive to human misery, will become our effective intercessor before God.

Please send information about graces received from God through the intercession of Bl. Stanislaus to:

Vice-Postulator of Marian Canonization Causes
Eden Hill, Stockbridge, MA 01262

Monday, April 19, 2010

Biopsies, Scans and Lab Tests, O My!

We had a busy morning, and a lazy afternoon.

I had the bone marrow biopsy procedure at 8 AM. Not fun; sore hips. Results in a couple of days.

The doctor sent me for another lab test, then we drove to BAMC for the PET scan. They did a CAT scan, too, and they will overlay them to get a good picture of where the abnormal cells are in my body.

I stayed up late watching a movie last night, and got up at 6 AM, so by the time we got home and had something to eat, I was exhausted. So I took a long nap. This evening I played with the puppies, who were missing me.

I'll go into the hospital tomorrow afternoon. The doctor said I will probably be there 5 or 6 days. I'll be having a colonoscopy, and once they have all the data from everything we've been doing, they will be able to formulate a treatment plan and get started.

I'm ready.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Chitchat

My sister Sandi was here for the weekend. She is such a love. It's always nice to have sister time, and especially right now.

We took Mom grocery shopping on Saturday. I got home around 3 PM, then Sandi and Mom came by after doing some shopping at the shopping center near our house (Sandi bought me two nighties and a robe for my hospital stay), and Kelly and her dogs came over to spend some time with us. We had a lovely evening. We had Mexican food for dinner, and hot fudge sundaes for dessert. We watched the dogs playing together, and had to put them inside when it started raining. We talked and listened to oldies that Ron would find on the computer and make us guess who the group or singer was. It was fun, and normal, and made me happy.

Today, Sandi went with us to Mass. I love when my sweet Baptist sister goes to the Latin Mass with me and likes it. :o) After Mass we met Kelly and Mike for lunch at Luby's, or as Mike said, "where the blue-hairs eat." :o) That was fun, too. We stayed for quite awhile after we finished our meal, talking and laughing.

After saying good-bye to Kelly and Mike, we dropped Mom and Sandi at Mom's apartment and came on home. Sandi stopped for a little while later as she was on her way out of town. I'm glad that she lives only a couple of hours away, but sometimes I wish we lived in the same town.

After Sandi left, Ron mowed the grass, I took a short nap, then Josh, Cyrise and the kids came over. We kept Reece and Aubrey here with us while their parents and Camryn went to the grocery store. Reece and Aubrey were so happy to see us, and we played outside with them for awhile. Then we came in and played with Reece's cars and blocks and a little pirate ship set we got in Rockport. I love being with them, and in no time their daddy and mommy came back to get them.

I can still hear their little voices calling, "Bye-bye Gramma! Bye-bye, Papa!" as they drove away with the truck windows rolled down. They didn't want to leave at first, but their daddy and mommy told them they were going home to eat pizza and watch Wall-E. :o)

I feel good, as if nothing at all is wrong with me. Unfortunately, the lab tests, biopsy and x-ray tell a different story. I'll have the bone marrow biopsy tomorrow, and the PET scan, and I guess I'll find out what time they want me to check into the hospital on Tuesday.

I'm praying for a miracle or that this is all a big mistake. :o)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

St. Peregrine, Pray For Us.

The docs think it's mantle cell lymphoma.

I won't be turning my blog into a cancer diary, but I will share what is happening from time to time since cancer is now going to be a part of my daily life. I also beg your prayers.

I'll have a bone marrow biopsy and a PET scan Monday morning, then I'll go into the hospital on Tuesday for more tests and to begin treatment. I'll be in the hospital for 5 or 6 days while things get started, then back and forth from home to hospital for awhile for chemo.

I am blessed to have lots of love and support from family and friends.

And Ron has found me a Saint for the situation, St. Peregrine, patron saint of cancer patients.

Novena To St. Peregrine

Glorious wonder-worker, St. Peregrine,
you answered the divine call with a ready spirit,
and forsook all the comforts of a life of ease
and all the empty honors of the world
to dedicate yourself to God in the Order of His holy Mother.

You labored manfully for the salvation of souls.
In union with Jesus crucified,
you endured painful sufferings with such patience
as to deserve to be healed miraculously
of an incurable cancer in your leg by a touch of His divine hand.

Obtain for me the grace to answer every call of God
and to fulfill His will in all the events of life.
Enkindle in my heart a consuming zeal for the salvation of all men.
Deliver me from the infirmities that afflict my body
(especially from mantle cell lymphoma).

Obtain for me also a perfect resignation
to the sufferings it may please God to send me,
so that, imitating our crucified Savior and His sorrowful Mother,
I may merit eternal glory in heaven.

St. Peregrine, pray for me and for all who invoke your aid.

Friday, April 16, 2010

I Want To Go Back

Happy Feast Day of St. Bernadette!

(Turn off my playlist music on the left sidebar to listen to the beautiful song).

I've traveled far, the land and the sea
Beautiful places I happened to be
One little town I'll never forget
Is Lourdes, the village of St. Bernadette

Ave, ave, ave Ma-ri-a
Ave, ave, ave Ma-ri-i-ia

There, like a dream, this wonderful night
I gazed at the grotto aglow in the light
A feeling divine swept over me there
I fell to my knees as I whispered the prayer

Ave, ave, ave Ma-ri-a
Ave, ave, ave Ma-ri-i-ia

Now I am whole, I'm happy to be
Telling of places I've traveled to see
One little town I'll never forget
Is Lourdes, the village of St. Bernadette

Ave, ave, ave Ma-ri-a
Ave, ave, ave Ma-ri-i-ia

Ave, ave, ave Ma-ri-a
Ave, ave, ave Ma-ri-a

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kelly Girl

My daughter Kelly is a "Featured Creator" at the Raige Creations blog.

The article tells a bit about her, and there is a brief interview and picture. Take a look and learn more about Biologie.

I think she is a very cool and interesting artist. :o) And she has some beautiful jewelry in her Etsy shop if you're looking for something fresh and pretty for Spring.

While you're at Raige's blog, be sure to check out her lovely handmade items. She also has some wonderful goodies in her Etsy shop.

Support handmade art!

Freecycled Playcenter

On Saturday someone posted a wooden playcenter on Freecycle, and I asked for it for the Grands. A very sweet lady emailed me and said we could pick it up the next day. It is several years old, weathered and missing the canopy and swings, but the wood is good and Ron will be able to restore it to nearly new condition, I'm sure.

So Sunday afternoon, after Mass and lunch with Mom, Ron, Josh and I went over to get the playcenter. I thought Josh was going to revolt when he saw that we would have to take it apart. He was not enthusiastic about the job, but he and Ron were able to get it apart in a couple of hours, after I went home for the socket set. I helped load and unload the pieces, but other than that I wasn't much help.

Now it is all apart in our backyard, waiting for Ron's handiwork to restore it to all its glory (I'll help). :o) He will sand and stain it and put it back together. We need a few new bolts, new swings, and we may get a new canopy or maybe not, since it will be under a tree. We could even put a wooden roof on it, but that depends on whether Ron wants to work that hard.

It has a glider, a cargo rope for climbing, a climbing wall, a long yellow slide, a fort up top and a picnic table underneath. The underneath part will be a perfect place for a "clubhouse" for the grands.

The picture is what the playcenter would look like if it was new. Our slide is yellow, not green, and the wood is gray and weathered right now. If we were to buy it new, it would cost around $600 to $700. All it will cost us is time and energy (oh, and the cost of two new swings), and I think we'll end up with something our Grands will love! Yay Freecycle!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I Need Your Prayers

While we were in Rockport the glands in my neck became very swollen and I had an itchy rash, so as soon as we returned home I called and left a message for my primary care doctor saying I needed to see her. Instead I saw a nurse practitioner early Monday morning.

The long and short of it, after labs, xray, and removal of a lymph node for biopsy, is that I likely have lymphoma. I'll know more next week. Meanwhile, I'm scheduled for a PET scan, CAT scans and have an appointment with hematology/oncology in May.

I am amazingly calm and unafraid. My loved ones are strong and supportive and lots of people are praying for me. I'm thankful for my Catholic faith. I know that suffering can be used, and can bring us even closer to God.

I'd appreciate your prayers, please, for me and for my family. Thank you so much!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Home From The Coast

We left for the coast on April 3rd, the day before Easter Sunday. Unable to find a traditional Latin Mass, we went to Easter Mass at the closest Catholic church. The church was filled with happy, joyful people, and the Mass was very nice.

It seemed strange to be away from home for Easter. Josh grilled raspberry chicken for Easter dinner, which was out of this world delicious. The boys grilled nearly every evening, and people at the hotel were asking about what they were cooking, the aroma was so wonderful.

All of us went out for dinner on Thursday. At the first restaurant we tried, a waitress had died and the staff had not returned from the funeral, so the wait would have been about an hour. We didn't want to wait that long with seven kids, so we tried another seafood place. That one was closed, even though it should have been open according to their sign. Maybe they were attending the same funeral. We finally wound up at The Boiling Pot, and everyone had fun eating there. Even Aubrey enjoyed the spicy Cajun food. :o)

On Friday we all went our separate ways for dinner. Ron, Mom and I went to a little seafood place because I wanted fried oysters. They were the best oysters I've ever had, and came with sweet potato fries and hush puppies--yum!

The guys enjoyed their fishing trips, and night time fishing from the pier. Ron was dubbed "the fish whisperer" by Cyrise. :o) He usually caught the first fish. Jason fished with his kids on Friday, and Jake was so proud to tell me that he caught two perch! We brought the fish they caught (only the keepers) home and will have a fish fry tomorrow. Jason, sorry we forgot to give you your filets!

Cyrise has been going to the coast every summer since she was a little girl, so she knew her way around, knew the people who owned the hotel, taught us how to catch crab, and fished every night with the guys. Kelly fished, too, and I went out one night. Most nights I was the designated baby watcher. :o)

Mike brought his crawfish boiling pot, and boiled the crabs one evening. They were blue crabs, and had to be bigger than your closed fist to be keepers. I'm not a crab fan, but I liked the little potatoes and mushrooms he put in the pot.

I didn't get pictures of the guys in their fishing hats! They all looked so cute. Caelen had an Indiana Jones looking hat, and Josh's hat made him look like an island guy or a young Earnest Hemingway. :o)

We had mixed feelings when we left this morning. On one hand, we were looking forward to going home, but on the other, it was hard to leave. We all enjoyed our stay so much, and loved spending time together. I'm sure we will do it again.

Here is Mom on the beach. She is such a cutie! Can you believe she is 83 years old? She enjoyed her vacation, but I think she was happy to get back home. It must seem very quiet to her after being surrounded by so many people for a week.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Having A Wonderful Vacation!

We're at the Texas Coast with the whole family (16 people and 3 dogs) and having a blast. We've been to the beach, we rode the ferry, we've shopped, we've fished off the pier, and the guys went out on a fishing boat Tuesday and will go again tomorrow.

We've been exploring the area, found an ancient cemetery, the Stella Maris chapel and the Schoenstatt convent. They have the most beautiful little chapel on the grounds. A precious little old nun rode her scooter from the residence over to the gift shop so that we could do some shopping. She was a delight! Oh, and we also visited the "Big Tree," a live oak more than 1,000 years old.

We're staying at a real family friendly place. There's a long pier to fish from, and the guys have been crabbing every night. There's doughnuts and coffee in the office every morning, and WiFi. I'm sitting on a lounge chair at the pool, keeping an eye on Lyssa and Lily as they swim. Oh, and here comes Reece with his mommy.

We're all going out for seafood tonight.

It's a bit chilly today, but the sea is calm and the sky is so blue and beautiful. We were stunned by the beauty of the spring wildflowers as we drove down on Saturday. We're all enjoying the different kinds of seabirds here. God has made such a beautiful world for us to enjoy.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

From The Roman Missal, 1962.

Extract from General Decree restoring the liturgy of Holy Week:

"Let the faithful be led to understand properly today's special liturgical act, in which the Passion of our Lord is solemnly chanted: prayers offered for the needs of the whole Church and the human race: the Holy Cross, monument of our Redemption, is adored most devoutly by clergy and faithful, the whole family of Christ: finally, as for hundred of years was the practice, all who wish and are duly prepared go forward to receive Communion with this as their chief intention, that by devoutly receiving the Body of the Lord (which He delivered this day for all men) they may enjoy richer fruits of that Redemption. Let the priests urge the faithful to make this sacred day one of loving recollection, neither should they forget the law of abstinence and fasting."

The instruction given by Pope Pius XII stipulates that Good Friday's solemn liturgy take place after noon; the best time would be three o'clock. The same Pope revives the old practice of all receiving Communion this day as a necessary part of the liturgical function. This consists of four main divisions, each of which has its own historical interest, the whole forming a dramatic representation of the Sacred Passion.

I, II. The first two parts consist of readings from Scripture and a prayer, followed by St. John's story of the Passion and concluded by a long series of prayers for various intentions. In this part we have preserved the form of the earliest Christian prayer-meeting--a service which was derived from the Jewish Synagogue. To this service of Scriptural readings the celebration of the Eucharist was afterwards joined to form the one solemn act of worship now called the "Mass." The Mass still preserves these distinct divisions: the first from the beginning to the Offertory, in which the Introit and Gloria are included: the second from the Offertory to the Communion. The first division is called the Mass of the Catechumens, (for the Catechumens were not permitted to remain for the celebration of the Eucharist): the second, the Mass of the Faithful.

III. The third part consists of the unveiling and adoration of the Cross. This ceremony was originally connected with the relic of the true Cross, and had its origin in Jerusalem. A veiled Crucifix is gradually exposed to view, and three times at the words Venite adoremus the faithful kneel in adoration of the Cross.

IV. The fourth part, the Communion of priest and people, completes what used to be known as the Mass of the Presanctified. Today's liturgy clearly does not constitute a Mass, for there is no Consecration; all who communicate received sacred particles consecrated at the Mass of the previous day This form of "Mass" is familiar in the Greek rite.

The service opens with a Mass of the Catechumens in what is perhaps its oldest and simplest form. It has neither Introit, Gloria, nor Credo, but consists merely of two lessons, followed each by a Tract, also taken from the Prophets. The Gospel is the story of the Passion according to St. John. This is followed by the most ancient form of intercession. The Priest (formerly the Deacon) makes a solemn appeal to the faithful, telling for whom each Prayer is to be offered: for the Church, the Pope, the Bishops, Priest, etc., the Jews, pagans, heretics, prisoners, etc. The Flectamus genua is said and all kneel down to pray until the Subdeacon bids them rise. Then the Celebrant turns to God, Almighty and Eternal, and formulates the prayer in the name of all. This was the oldest form of the Collect or public prayer.

The Adoration of the Cross, which follows the Collect, is a rite by itself. The veneration of the Cross is very old and found expression most naturally on Good Friday. The ceremony observed in the fourth century inthe Church of Golgotha, differs little form that carried out at the present day, in the Church of Holy Cross in Jerusalem (where the most precious relics of the Passion are preserved) and in all our Catholic churches. The antiphons and responsories which are sung during the adoration of the Cross, are called Improperia, or Reproaches. They form one of the most tragic features of this Friday service, which is a real drama and suggested the mediaeval Passion-plays.

The Adoration of the Cross is followed by a short service. The ciborium containing the sacred Hosts consecrated yesterday is brought in silence with the simplest of ceremonial fromthe Altar of Repose. Preparation for Communion is fittingly made by all standing to recite the Pater Noster in unison, and the Communion itself is followed at once by three prayers of thanksgiving. These end the day's solemn function.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Holy Thursday

Today is Holy Thursday, also called Maundy Thursday. It is the beginning of the Triduum (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday), and the end of the Season of Lent.

Here is the explanation of Holy Thursday from The Roman Missal, 1962.
From the General Decree of 1955 restoring the liturgy of Holy Week (Maxima Redemptionis):

"Let the faithful be taught about the love with which Christ our Lord 'on the day before He suffered' instituted the sacred and holy Eucharist, Sacrifice and Sacrament, the perpetual memorial of His Passion, to be offered day by day through the ministry of His priests. Let the faithful be invited to render due adoration after the end of Mass to the most holy Sacrament. Finally, wherever to illustrate the Lord's commandment of brotherly love the Washing of the Feet is to be carried out according to the restored rubrics, let the faithful be taught the deep significance of this holy rite, and let them spend this day in works of Christian charity."

The Mass today, which by order of Pope Pius XII should not begin before 5 p.m. or after 8 p.m., specially commemorates the Institution of the Blessed Eucharist at the Last Supper, and the Ordination of the Apostles, and is, therefore, a Mass of joy and thanksgiving. Hence the Church lays aside for the moment the penitential purple, and assumes festive white vestments; the Altar is decorated; the Gloria is said. During the Gloria the bells are rung, and from that time until the Easter Vigil they remain silent.

At pontifical Mass the oils are blessed for Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, Extreme Unction, and the consecration of altars and churches.

On this day an extra Ciborium is consecrated for the "Mass" of the Presanctified (hence the name) on Good Friday. After the Mass this Ciborium is borne in solemn Procession, during which the Pange Lingua is sung, to the Altar of Repose.

The derivation of the word Maundy reminds us of the ceremony of washing the feet, called Mandatum, from the first words of the Antiphon: Mandatum novum do vobis (John, 13. 34). The Mandatum takes place on this day because our Lord washed the feet of His Apostles before the Institution of the Holy Eucharist from which this feast (in Latin Feria Quinta in Coena Domini) derives its most characteristic features. The Epistle, Gospel, Secret, Communicantes (special form), the Postcommunion, the Procession of the Blessed Sacrament after Mass, and the placing of the Ciborium of Hosts consecrated during the Mass in a tabernacle at the "Altar of Repose" where It is to remain until the following day, are all intended to commemorate the institution of this Divine Sacrament.

This day was the only Feast of the Blessed Sacrament up to the time when a special and very solemn Feast was instituted on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. Private Masses are forbidden on this day. There is a general Communion at the Solemn Mass in which the Priests take part, to commemorate the custom of ancient times, when in cathedral churches the holy Sacrifice was offered by the Bishop, surrounded by his Priests. Another ancient rite of this day is the Blessing of the Holy Oils and the reconciliation of public penitents. The only trace of the reconciliation of the penitents in our present Roman Missal is the Collect of Mass "Deus a quo" which is very ancient. In the early Middle Ages, when these ceremonies were observed, three Masses were celebrated on this day: 1. in memory of the Institution of the Holy Eucharist. 2. for the Blessing of the Holy Oils. 3. for the reconciliation of public penitents. The second of these Masses is celebrated by the Bishop before noon in his Cathedral Church surrounded by his clergy.

After the evening Mass the Altar is stripped in order to show that the holy Sacrifice is interrupted and will not be offered again until Holy Saturday is ending.

I love Holy Thursday; all the rites and rituals are filled with such significance. We will attend Mass this evening, and I'll probably go to the Tenebrae service at our old church.

For Josh And Cyrise

Happy Anniversary, Josh and Cyrise!

May God bless you and grant you joy.
May He deepen your love for each other.
May He bless you in your family and friends,
And lead you to unending happiness in Heaven.
May Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Bless us all and keep us in His love for ever and ever.