Monday, June 30, 2014

Hobby Lobby Wins!

We made signs for our yard to put next to our banner and will shop at Hobby Lobby today to celebrate.

Supreme Court Rules Obama Admin Can’t Make Hobby Lobby Obey Pro-Abortion HHS Mandate

Supreme Court Rules Obama Admin Can’t Make Hobby Lobby Obey Pro-Abortion HHS Mandate

Barack loses another SCOTUS case. Religious Liberty wins!

Mass at Yellowstone

In 18 days, we head out on our journey to visit my parents in California. We've found the churches where we plan to attend Mass along the way. We were very excited to find out that Yellowstone National Park has Mass and Communion Services in the park. My parents think we are crazy for mapping out Mass locations, but we like to be prepared.

Check out this link for information on Mass in Yellowstone  I was really excited to see that they had services in the park because al of the Catholic churches seem to be quite a distance from where we are camping.

We have most of our camping gear clean and ready to go. 18 days and counting!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Only Ten More to Go

Last weekend was the baptismal anniversary of my middle son, so we celebrated by baking a cake and looking through pictures from the day he was baptized. As we were looking through one of the albums, we came across the card I had given my husband to tell him that we were expecting our second child. 
We laughed so hard we had tears in our eyes as we remembered the day I gave him this card. I didn't say a word...just let him read the card. I didn't remember that I had written "Only ten more to go!" on the back.

We didn't know then what God's plan was. We now have 3 here on earth and 20 souls in heaven. God knew we'd need special saints in heaven praying for us! He gave us a big family. Just not here on earth. We will have a glorious reunion in heaven one day.

I am so very  blessed that we have our Catholic faith. I am thankful that we were always open to life-- from the moment we got married (Our oldest is a *honeymoon baby*). I cannot imagine life without my precious sons. I started having miscarriages at the age of 30, and that just makes me feel extraordinarily happy that we knew before we got married that we would be faithful to His Church and her teachings. This card really is a joyful reminder that we've ALWAYS tried to live our Catholic faith as a couple. I am blessed. Not always perfect, but we've always tried! God is god. God is faithful.


Friday, June 27, 2014

Veiling at Mass and Adoration

Until recently, I only veiled at Latin Mass and Adoration. I bought my first veil over 4 1/2 years ago. The first time I put a veil on, I felt immediate peace.

God had been calling me to veil at Novus Ordo Mass for quite a while. With the help of a  friend who encouraged me to branch out from Latin Mass and Adoration, I began veiling at every Mass several weeks ago. Instant peace! It is such a beautiful tradition.

Once I realized what scripture said and what this tradition has meant in the Church for over 2000 years, how could I not veil in the presence of God in the Holy Eucharist? Veiling is a sign of humility before God. It is a public proclamation that Jesus is truly present in the Holy Eucharist! I only wish I'd of known of this tradition earlier.

At first, I was afraid to veil at Novus Ordo Mass because of what people might think. Let's face it, veiling isn't the norm. It was easy to veil at Adoration because there were so few people around. It was easy to veil at Latin Mass because everyone was doing it. We veil for God, not other people!

Of course, it still took a lot of prayer before I took the next step to veil at Novus Ordo Mass. I even asked a priest what he thought of veiling before I finally took the next step! I also reminded myself again that veil is a sign of humility before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, scripture calls us to cover our heads and it is also a public proclamation that you desire to submit to the will of God. But most of all, I reminded myself that it is public proclamation that Jesus is truly present Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. After knowing what it means, how could I not veil!?

This Catholic News Service video on veiling is beautiful. I thought I'd share it and then share a few pictures of my favorite veils. I own 3 and have a very long wish list. I'm praying that more women come to (re)discover the tradition of veiling!

My friend and I on Ascension Thursday-Latin Mass
Same veil as above, love how is changes colors!

Love this light weight Chantilly lace veil-lilac and beige colored flowers on it.

Veils on my wish list: 


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

T-minus 23 Days

In 23 days, my middle son and I will leave for a grand adventure! My oldest, youngest and the hubby will be staying back at home. Since I have not seen my parents in 9 years and we have (now) a window of 3 and a few days between appointments, I came up with the crazy idea of driving from coast to coast. My parents are the antithesis of who and what I it will be difficult to visit. They are now 85 and 77, so I'm praying we can have a peaceful visit.

We will be gone 22 days (if things go as planned). We will camp in Little Rock, Albuquerque and Flagstaff the first 3 nights we are on the road. We found a cute church to go to Mass at in Albuquerque. If we have time, I want to stop at the Stations of the Cross in Groom, TX.  We will then spend 2 nights in the Grand Canyon before heading to visit friends who live outside of LA.  Then it is up the middle to eat lunch with a friend in Fresno and on to Vacaville for a night to visit a childhood friend. I feel blessed that we are planning on going to vigil Mass at the church where I received my First Holy Communion!  Then up to Redding for 5 nights with my parents before heading up to Idaho. We will camp at Twin Falls before spending 3 nights at Yellowstone. Then it is on to friends in Denver. We will camp one night in Topeka and visit friends in Overland Park before making the last 16 hrs of the drive home. 20 states, 6,200 plus miles, 10n nights camping, 10 nights with friends and two nights using hotel points.

A few weeks ago, when I was making reservations at Yellowstone for camping, I had to pull out our small tent to get the dimensions. They ask! I've always known them as the small tent and the big tent. Since it was out, I sealed the seams once again.... because there is nothing worse than camping and having the rain come inside your tent.

Today, I'm going through camping gear....because you know that it never gets put back properly after each trip. Need to figure out what we have and what we need. I'm pretty sure my Coleman stove needs a good cleaning, too. In 23 days, my 18 year old son and I will embark upon the most amazing adventure ever! We are praying for 3 weeks of health and 3 weeks with no doctor visits. God's got this!

I'm going to try to blog as we travel with my mobile app! I really think this is what we need. It's been a stressful few years with their health and surgeries, etc.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

When People Request Prayers....

Words fail at explaining life with sick kids. They didn't ask for this. We didn't ask for this. I know I rarely talk about S's noncompliance- because it's not life-threatening. It's there. He hasn't taken his nightly Glycosade in weeks (and we are in eye drop hell at the moment). He complains daily about being exhausted and I've just come to reply, "Hmm. Glycosade, perhaps?" He is good about his d...aily meds, for the most part.... night and morning. Just not the extra stuff. One reason I don't give advice when people ask for prayers is because I know that sometimes prayer really is the only thing that can help. We've tried everything. They are not bad kids. They are not any less Christian. They aren't like alcoholics. They are two kids who have only known illness. Being a teenager is hard when you are healthy. Imagine being *sick*.

Joseph has been swallowing pills since he was 2 1/2 - taking meds daily since he was a baby. Sean has been taking meds since he was a baby and started swallowing pills at 3 1/2 and that's why J started at 2 1/2- he wanted to be like his brother and not take meds in applesauce. This has been our life for 18 years. I get tired of it, so I can only imagine that they hate it. Add to it, all the surgeries, procedures, hospitalizations, infusions, doctor visits and infections. It's amazing that S is only taking one extra year to graduate. Because, in between all of that, we also homeschool.

Then there certainly is the aspect of, "God healed Sean a little, but not me." Sean did IGG for 8 years, trialed off and has done well, though his IGG is very low normal, he's only gotten pneumonia once since being off. J trialed off and had hopes that it would be God's plan that he wouldn't need it. It just wasn't God's will. He also wonders why they both have the same diseases and he's more *complicated*. It's human nature.

I know people mean well when they try to *fix* it. I will never, ever, give up on my children. Jesus never gives up on me, and I will never give up on my children. We've never done this before. Every stage of this life with chronic illness is new to us. We cannot change the will of God. We trust that His will is perfect and that there is a reason for all of this. We can only offer it up to Him and pray that they become adults who take care of their health issues if He chooses not to heal them. As always, my first prayer for my children is ALWAYS that they love God above all else. I pray for that before I pray for healing. If they love God first, the rest will fall into place. God's got this even when we don't.

I am thankful for every one of you who prays for us. So thankful. Especially on days that I can barely find the energy to pray.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Confessions of an OCD Catholic

My youngest has OCD and I am here to tell you that the OCD apple doesn't fall very far from the tree. Oh how I wish it did.

Let's just say I've got low self-esteem with a touch of OCD thrown in. Most people who know me think I'm probably quite full of myself. I don't know. Truth is, I walk around thinking about my failures. A lot. This week has been especially hard with finding out just how noncompliant my youngest has been with his medical treatments. Makes a mom feel like quite a failure.

At some point last year, a priest told me I should confess by kind and number. That was a revelation for this Catholic mom, so I have been working on that... meaning... ahem, I work on my wordiness. Have I ever mentioned I talk? A lot. Then, I obsess that any amount of talking bothers people. Okay, I obsess, in general, about bothering people. Pretty much get to feeling my mere existence disturbs folks. It's me, not them.  I mean that. I'm always afraid that I'm a burden to people. I grew up with family members who frequently told me they hated me. So, while I get that is abnormal and other people aren't that way, it has always been a life long struggle!

What have I learned this last year? This is awesome..... are you ready for this? If the confessor needs more info, they ask. Another revelation. How freeing is that!? Just the facts ma'am.

So back to my confession stories. You know we've all been there, but no one ever goes around talking about what happens in the confessional. Seriously, who does that!? I do, sometimes... because it is an important part of our faith. Always humbling, sometimes very emotional, and many times, at least in my case, pretty darn funny. Not the confession part, my thoughts and reactions. The grace is amazing. It brings me to my knees in thanksgiving. Sometimes I cry because the grace is overwhelming. Sometimes I cry because I can't get over myself. Mostly the former.

Last month, I went to confession and the priest gave me a 5 day penance. My first thought was, "Dear Lord, how will I ever remember to do this between everything else?" My second thought was, "Dang,  five days? Was I that bad?"  Ahh... but the grace was amazing. The priest knew EXACTLY what I needed to do to get back on track with my life. I had really been struggling with certain areas of my life and my penance was perfect. Guided by the Holy Spirit.

I don't think any confession will ever beat the confession where the priest yelled at me so loudly that I KNOW the entire church heard. The only time I have ever slinked out of confession. I can still hear his voice. He meant well. I guess? I also love those times when people are complaining in the confession line and I wrack up more sins for my uncharitable thoughts.

This morning after Mass, I went to confession. I sat down and the lady in front of me told me that Father didn't have time to hear confessions today. I asked, "Oh, so he's not hearing them?" She remarked, "No, he just has an appointment and is in a hurry." I'd examined my conscience several times and I was ready. Then comes the overwhelming feeling that I am somehow imposing on his time because he has to get going. So I rattle through my sins.... listen, then said my act of contrition. A little faster than normal, but I think I annunciated the words and didn't stumble. Then comes the (in a very nice voice-emphasis on nice)- "I'm going to add something to your penance." My first thought was, "Oh my word, what have I done now!?" Father said very nicely something like, "After you leave here, I want you to go into the church and say your act of contrition again SLOWLY..." 

My first thought was, "I really suck because I can't even say I'm sorry correctly." I knelt and said the act of contrition at least five times. Really. The first time I thought it might have been too fast again. The second and third times I was preoccupied with the fact that I am a complete failure at confession and saying I'm sorry. The fourth time, I just started crying. I think I finally got it on the fifth (sixth) try. Then I cried all the way home.  I called a friend. I told you I had OCD because only would a crazy Catholic with OCD obsess over this.

What do I think the lesson was? Well, it wasn't "don't go to confession when you are emotionally raw and haven't slept in a few weeks." Once again, I learned that I really just need to get over myself. Ouch.  I was also reminded that we human beings are always in a hurry, worried about being late, have appointments but God isn't and doesn't. When we are in confession, we should never rush. It's God's time and we receive sanctifying grace in confession. I really should have slowed down and let that sanctifying grace soak in.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Typical Tuesday...Far from Perfect

It's a typical Tuesday at our house. Our counter usually looks like this with infusion supplies and a sharps container strewn about. Sometimes, it is worse!  It's the story of our life.

My middle son and I watched a homeschooling video this morning and I laughed and cried. It portrays the perfect homeschooling adventure. Our family's homeschooling video would be completely different. We are somewhere in the middle. Maybe. Just a little.

It is a struggle, trying to accept God's will for your life when you compare yourself to others. When our children were born, we had hopes and dreams..... we saw the homeschooling adventure in the video before us. It's wonderful for those families who live that dream. Sometimes, God has other plans. Yet, His will is perfect and while the adventure we've had isn't exactly what we dreamt it would be, I wouldn't change it for the world. God's version IS perfect. We've learned how to truly offer up our joys, works and sufferings to him. Most days, anyway.

Somewhere between the medications, infusions and hospital visits, we manage to homeschool. Our oldest graduated from Seton last year, never having been to regular school, and did well his first year at Belmont Abbey. Two more to go. God willing S will graduate next year and J the following year. Part of our homeschooling is transitioning them to adulthood with the ability to take care of all their own medical needs. This is proving to be the hardest part of our journey so far.

While our homeschool adventure is only a tad bit like the video below, this is an awesome video. Something I truly always dreamt ours would be. I am ever thankful that God makes up for where we are lacking..... and feel blessed that while not the best example of homeschooling, God called us to this way of life. He knew what He was doing when He put it on our hearts to homeschool our kids.

Seton Home Study School - Catholic Homeschooling from Two Sense Films on Vimeo.