Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Gift of a Child

Eighteen years ago, I met this sweet baby, my son Max. Michael was the first to hold him, do everything for him. I managed to take a picture from my bed a few hours later of my two loves. We were in the hospital for two weeks because of ABO-blood incompatibility. Max was severely jaundiced. Even when we came home, he had to be on bili-lights for the first month. He avoided having to have a blood transfusion in the nick of time. But after a difficult start, he thrived, tripling his birth weight in just 6 months. He was such a roly-poly baby I thought I'd have a baby elephant on my hands. Thankfully he slowed down and I was glad when he learned to walk because he was getting too heavy for me to carry about. And then along came Dagny ... and Max has been a very good big brother.     



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Max is a strapping young man now, ready to leave the nest thanks to God's abundant blessings. We are grateful for all our wonderful relatives, teachers, coaches, priests, and friends in his life who've helped him develop his various talents. Michael and I feel like Tevye and Golde as we sing Sunrise, Sunset and reflect upon the great gift God has given us in Max. Swiftly fly the years. One season following another, laden with happiness and tears. My dear Max, I pray always you grow closer to Jesus, discern your vocation, and do God's holy will with joy. Happy Birthday Max! God bless you and make you a saint! I love you more than you'll ever know. Mom.


Friday, February 17, 2017

POTUS at Boeing SC

I hardly ever turn on the TV but today was a very special day. Historic. Boeing rolled out its new 787-10 and President Trump came to celebrate it with us!!! The factory was shut down for first shift, both for celebration and extra security. Michael got to go as an employee and he said it was great. I got to watch and listen to the speeches on TV. One thing that struck me was how the two pastors, of Mother Emmanuel and of the Baptist Church in Columbia, thanked God for everything and asked for His blessing now and always. I love how God is not forgotten even as we celebrate the work of human hands.

I also appreciated the acknowledgment President Trump made to American engineering and manufacturing. Boeing is doing it right! We are so grateful to God for bringing us here and for all that He continues to do.

Here are some pictures I took for memory's sake. The kittens and I also had some playtime :)   





Monday, February 13, 2017

Doing the Nineveh 90

Last year, I read about Nineveh 90 on Fr. Heilman’s blog. Briefly, it's a 3 month program of intense physical and spiritual discipline as we strive for personal holiness and pray for special intentions.

I balked at the program because it *is* intense. I doubt I can do everything, especially that intense physical exercise. I can't even do a pushup without falling over. So yeah, I'm weak. And sometimes I get very sleepy at Adoration. Fasting is okay but we are a foodie family so it's always a struggle and there is CAKE that is tempting me right now. But God is so good. He gave me some help from Matthew Kelly. It's got practical suggestions for developing discipline, both physical and spiritual. For instance, every hour I say a quick prayer and offer up that hour's work for a person who comes to mind. This way my work becomes a prayer.  

With God's grace I hope to live Ephesians 6. It even  includes instructions for battling evil:
Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Nineveh 90 begins Feb. 13, 2017 and ends on May 13, 2017 (on the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima). We’ve been preparing for this all of January. I am so grateful to have a faithful partner right here at home. Yesterday was Septuagesima Sunday (the first of 3 Sundays before Lent so that we’re not caught unawares when Ash Wed comes along) and we had a lovely celebration for our newly ordained deacon with a High Mass with Byrd’s Mass for 3 Voices. He chanted the Epistle and Gospel so beautifully and I kept thinking how much we could use such a talented tenor in our choir!
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Pray for us. I'm stepping away from unnecessary Internet use even though I enjoy reading about and sharing good books, movies, kitten nonsense, proud mama moments, photos and so much more. I'll miss it but I should probably be reading more of the Bible and Saints and less of the news. I leave you with this quote from St. Catherine of Siena: "If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!" Thank you, Fr. Heilman, for organizing Nineveh 90 (this is the dedicated website).

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. 



Thursday, February 2, 2017

Tough As They Come

I don’t typically gravitate towards books about the actual fighting in a war but the few I’ve read have stayed with me. And TOUGH AS THEY COME by SSG Travis Mills will too. He begins the book with the day he goes out on a routine mission that nearly killed him. I cannot even imagine living through something like this, but he not only survived (a great miracle), but is now helping other veterans who’ve been severely wounded to live theirs. I enjoyed getting to know this small-town young man; I have always loved small towns and he captures all the fun and closeness of living in one where football rules and boys grow up to be men. And become brothers in arms. The thing that impressed me most was how seriously he takes his role as a man, as a husband, as a father, and as a soldier. He is a leader through and through.

The fact that he was wounded so severely does not make him pitiful. Of course, he wishes he still had all his limbs, but he is moving forward, pushing himself. His courage and determination are infectious. I loved how he encouraged other soldiers who’d arrive at Walter Reed. And this memoir inspires me to never give up.

The bulk of the book describes his three deployments to Afghanistan with the famous 82nd Airborne Division. Until I read this book, I had no idea the how very dangerous it’s been for our men to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan where you couldn’t necessarily trust the Afghanis either. But here they were, fighting to give them a better life. And today we “sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” Thank you SSG Mills and all the others who have served our country so fearlessly so that we might sleep in peace. God bless you!
Thanks to Blogging for Books for a review copy of TOUGH AS THEY COME. I highly recommend it to all who are 14 years or older.
When I read this book, I remembered Trent Reedy’s WORDS IN THE DUST, based upon his experiences serving in Afghanistan. He paints a picture of what it’s like to be an Afghani girl. I’m reading another one of his books, IF YOU’RE READING THIS, that I am enjoying immensely. And he has a new series of books of what it would be like if America were divided.
Right before I picked up TOUGH, I’d read Padma Venkatraman’s free-verse novel A TIME TO DANCE. The two books are completely different but what they have in common is the indomitable spirit of people who face tragedy with courage.
Happy reading, say Benny and Jules :)