Thursday, February 25, 2010

Beautiful Funeral

Penny's funeral yesterday was so beautiful. The church was full and it was just so wonderful to see all the lives she touched through the years.

Today I feel a bit empty. It's weird. When you concentrate on one thing for weeks at a time and then it's gone. Just so strange. Some moments I feel like a fish out of water.

It doesn't help that the dryer still isn't fixed. And it looks like my hubby's car has pretty bad issues.

Our days have been long. Sometimes I feel like I am on a ride that doesn't stop and I am going nowhere! And everything I touch breaks on it!!!!!

I was hoping for a snow day tomorrow. Maybe catch up on a few things. But I forget. We live in Buffalo. Not even snow days go the way you want here!!!

Fasting from my computer again tomorrow. Be back on Saturday hopefully! God willing.

Friday. I will be offering it all up!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sending My Penny's Soul Off Tomorrow

Tomorrow we will send my dear friend's soul off to heaven. We are having her funeral Mass tomorrow morning. We have a viewing first, then the Mass. Please pray for me.

You all know I am happy for Penny. And a bit jealous too. I mean, she is talking with Jesus. She doesn't have any more worries about bills, or illness, or anything. Just Jesus.

At the same time. I miss her. I miss taking care of her. I miss talking with her. The sense of loss is greater at times than others.

So please pray for me. Tomorrow is going to be a day. And a half.

Jesus, I trust in You.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Devil Is After Meeeeee!

Must be doing something right. The devil has taken two vehicles and a dryer from me. My husband is not allowing me to touch appliances or anything with a motor. This could work out in my favor as a stove is an appliance, as is the dishwasher!!!

Our van needed repairs and until today was out of commission for almost three weeks. At the end of the week our other car lost it's power steering. And then the last straw. Saturday night the dryer was going round and round, but no heat. This is a disaster in a family that has ten people who have become accustomed to wearing clothing.

And then I realized yesterday why this was happening. As I sat next to my candidate at the Rite of Election, my candidate who had been a drug addict for many, many years. Who had many children, with many different fathers, but has been clean for a long time, and starting life on her own, without a man living with her. My candidate who is excited about becoming Catholic and belonging to God now. She wants my hubby and I to be her youngest two children's Godparents. Yeah, that is why the devil hates me. I took a big time player from him. Helped bring her back to God.

No wonder. Just in case, the children must bring me my juice or hot tea. The refrigerator and the microwave are off limits to me. Until after the Easter Vigil.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Thank You All

I just want to thank you all for your prayers. They mean so much to me. I gave up the computer, my ipod, television and texting on Fridays during Lent, so I couldn't write yesterday. I was so disoriented. Not just because I couldn't write, but because I have been organizing my life each day so that my household would run smoothly and I could get out to see Penny.

Yesterday for the first time, there was no Penny to see. I stood in our supermarket and wanted to cry. Usually I am rushing, thinking ahead, and I thought, "I don't have to rush anymore". She's gone.

It was so sad. But again, I am so happy for Penny. One of my friends hugged me yesterday and said, "Just think, she is talking about you right now with Jesus." That does excite me! I talked to Him all day yesterday. Just laid down in front of Him and prayed during Adoration. I took this journey with Him. And when I sat next to Penny and stroked her hair as she lay dying, I thought, "He finally has given me my desire, to sit at the foot of the cross! To be Mary Magdalene, to be St. John!!!!!" As far back as I can remember, maybe even as a child when we would do the Stations of the Cross during Lent, I wanted to be those two. I wanted to be there to comfort Our Lord.

On Thursday, He gave me the desires of my heart. Thank You Jesus.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

RIP My Sweet Penny

Penny passed away today at about 5:35pm. I was sitting by her side, stroking her hair, while I prayed a chaplet with two others from our mission family. Her son and daughter in law were there too, holding each other tight. As we neared the end of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, she drew her last breath, and then, peacefully, she was gone.

I will miss her terribly. These last few weeks with her taught me so much about life, and love, and God and death, and what is really, really, important in life. And what is not. I learned about myself. I learned about God's place in my life. I learned more in this past month then I have in almost 49 years of life.

I will never, ever, ever forget her, or what I learned these past four weeks. Last night I whispered in her ear that when it was my time to go, she needed to come for me with Jesus. I said, "Promise me that you will come to get me when it is my time. If I see you, I won't be afraid."

Right now in heaven, there is a soul talking to Jesus about me. Isn't that mind blowing? Isn't that awesome?

But for right now, the tears won't stop coming. I am grieving. Please pray for Penny's soul, and please pray for me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Not Too Much Longer

Saw Penny tonight for just a short while. Won't be much longer now. She may not even make it through the night. I thanked her, told her to let go and be with Jesus. And I asked her to meet me when my time comes so I won't be afraid.

Please pray for her.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Watching A Friend

Watching a friend die is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I have been through a lot in my life, but this is the hardest. Last night when I was with Penny, we were alone, and it hit me that this could be the last night I see her alive.

In a whoosh, all the nights I have spent with her lately came at me like a tidal wave. I realized that this has been a very special, grace filled time. One that I will never forget. And I also realized that I am going to miss her terribly. I whispered to her that I love her very much, and I told her that I was so sorry that she has to suffer like this. I told her that it has been my joy to take care of her these past few weeks. It really has.

I said all this as tears streamed down my face. Her eyes were closed but she heard me. She took some tissues and put them to her eyes, she wanted to cry, but she couldn't will the tears to come. I told her that I knew she loved me too, and she smiled. This time is so precious, so quiet, and intimate, and precious. I have been blessed by God to do this.

She had a coughing fit and I held her in my arms, wiped her mouth and she leaned her head on me, and I just held her close for a long time. Jesus. This is not me guys. I could never do this. Isn't our God amazing that He puts us in situations we never thought we could be in, and He helps us through them. He is so good. God is just so good.

He never leaves us alone. Even though sometimes we feel like we are alone. I have certainly felt His presence not only in Penny's room, but also in the halls of hospice. As I walk the halls, the first few weeks for my Penny, to get her some coffee, but now to get myself a cup of tea, I can feel Him there. Loving all those who lay there, dying, so close to seeing Him face to face. It's not a scary thing to me anymore. I feel Him there.

And even as I sit in my room, writing this, I feel Him with me. I don't know why He chose me to do this, to be a missionary, to love people so much, but He did. But I thank Him for my life, that He chose me. A mother of nine, wife, teacher, lover, friend.

He chose me.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I Write For Myself, Part 2

My last post wasn't meant to slam anyone, especially any of my readers. The blog I read is someone who probably doesn't even read my blog. I just think it is wrong to start placing rules, regulations and restrictions, on what people should or should not write on their blogs. My philosophy is, if I don't like some one's style of writing or what they write about, well, I am not going to read it! Simple enough.

Writing for me is relaxation. It is getting all of these thoughts that swirl around in my head all day long, out, and just out there for any one who feels like it to share with me. I am not forcing any one to read my stuff, just like I don't have to read any one else's writings. This is enjoyment!!!

I read some blogs and I think they are pure poetry, like my blogger friends Anne and Christopher. Reading them is like reading a beautiful piece of literature. Others I read because they make me think, like Jennifer over at Conversion Diary, some make me laugh, like Fr. Dwight Longnecker, and some are just because I enjoy peeking into their lives because of their honesty, like my blogger friends, Allison and Kimberly.

Each one of the blogs I read, help me to feel like I am not the only one out there, I am not the only one who believes in God, who loves and serves Jesus with all her heart, and who loves being CATHOLIC!! A few minutes here, a few minutes there, and off I go, knowing I have brothers and sisters all over the world who are doing the same thing. Each with there own perspective, each with their own style of writing, each of them unique! Writing for themselves, and giving us a window to look into ourselves.

And then pondering it once again on our own blogs. It's truly amazing how God can use anything to bring us closer to Him. Who would have thunk that by reading someone else's blog, the reader can relate and then change something in their own life to become more like Christ. I bet it happens all the time.

It has happened to me. So thank you out there! Thank you for writing from your heart, thank you for not caring what other people think about your style of writing and just writing your thoughts and ponderings.

I look forward to reading much, much more. God willing.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I Write For Me

I had a few minutes earlier today, or should I say yesterday because it is already tomorrow, er, today. Anyway, I was catching up on some blogs and I read something on one of them that I thought was a little too, oh, I don't know, maybe condescending about what people write on their blogs.

So I just want to say this. I write from my heart, I write from my own perspective on life. I am not trying to teach anything to anybody on purpose, but if you learn something when reading me, well great. I am not trying to tie up my life in a nice little package. Sometimes my life can be messy, as is everyone else's. If you learn from my messes, well, so be it. I am not an expert on anything. Not even on child rearing, even though I have nine of them. I am me. My life is not perfect and I make a lot of mistakes, say a lot of dumb things, second guess myself a lot, well, the list goes on and on.

I don't try to be funny on purpose but sometimes my life can be pretty funny. So I write it down. Sometimes my life is sad. Sometimes I am depressed, sometimes I am full of joy. All are reflected in my writings. And if you feel like you want to read me, well go ahead. There are some of you that I love to read. And I learn from you, and you learn from me. Isn't it great that God gave us this tool to help each other?

And then some intellectual type comes along and starts critiquing blogs. These are blogs for goodness sakes!!!! Not Pulitzer prize winning novels! It is supposed to be a person's thoughts, not a dissertation on life! Not a serious piece of work, but a work in progress. My life, your life, we are all a work in progress. And some of us work it out on our laptops every night. Trying to make sense of it all, trying to make sense of our lives. And sometimes others join us for the ride by reading our blogs.

I have no problem with that.

Bottom line: I write for me. And the people I enjoy reading the most, write for themselves and the rest of us are privileged to be along on that person's adventure.

So now can we stop taking these things so seriously and just have fun writing?

Friday, February 12, 2010

I Held Jesus Tonight

Spent the evening with Penny. Helped her get dressed for bed, helped her to the bathroom. Went to the family kitchen area several times to heat up coffee, make her an icecream soda and helped get her bed set up.

And I thought of Jesus saying, "Whatsoever you do...."

And before I left, I held Jesus. I put Penny in my arms and held her broken body close to mine, and in that gesture, I saw her as Jesus.

Tonight, I held my suffering Jesus.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

He Leadeth Me

A couple of weeks ago my good blogger friend/deranged Caps fan, Christopher, sent me a wonderful book by Fr. Walter J. Ciszek, S.J. called, "He Leadeth Me". As God will have it, I am also working on "Introduction to a Devout Life", by St. Francis De Sales. It's funny how God works things in a person's life, because these two books are the exact books I should be reading simultaneously!

They are both about totally abandoning oneself to God's will. Not conforming His will to yours, not even conforming yours to His, but completely, totally, abandoning yourself, and letting Him totally take over.

I began by realizing that on my own, not only will I muck things up, I will sin while doing it. God gives me the string and I hang myself with it every time. I trust in my own self, my own gifts and talents, (sometimes not even recognizing the One who gave me those gifts and talents), and I don't trust in Him. Him alone.

A profound statement in the book says this:" God must sometimes allow us to act on our own so we can learn humility, so we can learn the truth of our total dependence on Him, so we can learn that all our actions are sustained by His grace and that without Him we can do nothing-not even make our own mistakes."

Wow. Yeah. So very true. The Jesuit priest who wrote this book was writing about his experience of being a prisoner for over 23 agonizing years in Soviet prisons and Siberian labor camps. I am reading this thinking about how this man was in the worst possible situations known to mankind, at times living among people who acted more like animals than humans, and he found God there. He found God's will in his every moment. He fell back into the arms of God and each and every day, in each and every moment, He trusted in God to show him what to do. He didn't even fear death, because if that was what God wanted, well, than he would be with his Creator. So be it. He depended on God, and God alone.

Sometimes God leads us there. Sometimes He takes us to that place where we have to face horrifying things, suffering things, terrible injustices, so He can show us, that He is all that matters. That is it. Nothing can happen to me today unless God wills it, and if He wills it, He will get me through it. And sometimes I may think He is not helping me at all, but at those moments I need to go back to the drawing board and see where I am depending on myself instead of Him.

When I watch my Penny, sometimes she goes off to another place, she seems to nod off. She is present yet not present. I believe it is then that she is with God, someplace inside herself, just Penny and God. I also believe that each one of us will have our moments like that, where we realize it is just me and Him. Intimacy like we have never known with the One who knows us more intimately than even our spouses.

I am learning more and more, hell is not about fire and brimstone, wailing and gnashing of teeth because of pain and suffering. The wailing is due to the intense pain a soul must go through when he or she knows that they will never, ever be with God. To never see His face. To never be united with Him. That is hell. For all of eternity. Our souls hunger and thirst for Him, but souls in hell will never have that hunger satisfied, will never have their thirst quenched. My heart breaks for those souls. I pray for the souls here on earth who still have a chance, to live for God, to choose God. Before it is too late.

Our God is merciful. He loves us so much. He must cry over the souls who refuse Him, deny Him. He wants us to know and love Him. He loves us more than we could ever love Him.

He loves us more than we could ever, ever love Him.

God loves me.

God loves you.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl Party!

Let me start off by saying, I hate football. Not interested for even one second. Still, super bowl parties are a part of being an American. You know, apple pie, mom and super bowl parties.

My husband goes all out. He plans our meal and even makes a football pool where the kids can win things like, lunch with mom at McDonald's and a $25 dollar gift card to the place of the winner's choice.

As I am writing this, we are in the fourth quarter, we are bloated and as full as people get on Thanksgiving. Mary won the first quarter, five bucks. John Paul won lunch with me at McDonalds in the second quarter, Jacob won a trip to Mighty Taco with Dave in the third quarter. The big $25 dollar winner will be determined at the end of the game. Big happenings here. Good food! Really good food!

And all I care about is the commercials which so far haven't been all that funny. Except for the one with David Letterman, Oprah and Jay Leno. Even if you didn't see it, just imagine those three people sitting on a couch in front of a tv together.

Just the thought of that is funny, isn't it?

Hopefully it will be over soon.

It's a school night!!!!!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sorry So Long Since I Last Wrote

I can't believe how long it has been since I last wrote. I have been so busy this week. In between my regular family obligations and mission obligations, I have been going to see Penny, who is doing great by the way! She's been in hospice, but is doing so well they will be moving her to a nursing home. She still doesn't have much longer to live, but she could still have another four months so, let's keep praying for her!

I know that I have written this before, but I can't write enough how this experience with Penny has made a profound impact on my life. This week I took a deep look into my vocations of wife, mother and missionary. Saw where I need to improve but also gave myself credit for what I am doing right. If God could only give us a few more hours in a day I would be in good shape!

It is amazing how God gives us the grace to do the things that we never thought we could do. I have been bone tired, especially last night, but I stayed with her until 11:30 because she wanted me to stay. God is good, that is all I can say!

Okay. So Colleen asked me about General Confession. I made a general confession because I am starting St. Francis De Sales, "Introduction To A Devout Life", and the first thing he suggests doing is a general confession. Yes, God had forgiven much of what I had confessed, but I also noticed that when I went back to the start, I found all kinds of things I had never confessed. When you prepare yourself for a general confession you have to ask God to bring up any past sins you may not have confessed. Also, from my own experience, there are things I confessed that I am not sure I even knew why I needed to confess them at the time, but with time, knowledge of God, (and the closer I get to Him, the more I feel remorse for my sins,) those old things pop up and I understand more clearly why it was wrong.

I felt lighter when I left. And I did major battle this week because of it. I suffered a lot towards the end of the week, and only now as I write this do I realize why the end of the week was so bad, why I was hit by the devil so bad. I wish I could have seen this while I was going through it, but I was under attack for making that confession. That's okay. I survived!!! Came out on the other side, thanks to God's grace and the guidance of my spiritual director.

Getting ready to go to a fundraiser for the mission, Souper Chili Nights. I am looking forward to seeing old friends, and making new ones. I am a social butterfly so I will be in my element tonight!

Hopefully I will be back on track with my writing now too. I missed you guys and I hope you missed me too!