Saturday, December 21, 2013

The long walk....

I was reading through my blog from the other day about my trip to Kentucky, and it struck me that I forgot to write about two of my favorite parts of our trip. 

The first would have to be the celebration of mass.  We didn't realize they had mass on Wednesday evenings, so it was a pleasant surprise to us when Marge mentioned that to us when we arrived.  Remember the other week when I spoke of how awesome it was to say the Our Father with 23,000 people?  Well, it was.  But I have to say that it was also pretty awesome on Wednesday to say the Our Father, and hold hands with all 12 of us in attendance at mass!  How wonderful that was!

The other part that I loved happened during the day, while we were helping people.  While we were shopping, our conversations would consist of "what would they like", "what size are they", etc.  When we got outside to take their things to the car, we would have time to chat.  Not everyone wanted to chat, of course, but many did.  Some just wanted to tell me how thankful they were.  Some wanted to tell me about their families -- who we just shopped for.  Some felt badly that they were there, and wanted to tell me their story. 

The one that struck me the most was the woman who didn't seem like she "belonged".  We laughed all the way through, because I would say -- "I've been thinking someone would love this" and she would reply with, "I was just looking at that!"  We had such similar tastes it was almost scary!

As we were walking to her car, she was explaining to me that she never thought she would be in that position.  She was a teacher, with a Master's Degree!  She said she had been looking for work, but was unable to find any.  I have found that the people in this area are very loyal to their family (kin) and won't leave them, in case you are wondering why she didn't move somewhere else to find a teaching job!  They stick together.  Through everything. 

I've added her and her family to my prayers -- that she find a job and find some peace.  How difficult that must be -- especially at this time of the year. 

I hope that you and your family find much peace this Christmas.  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Celebrating Christmas -- the Best Way I Know How

Starting when I was very young, my cousins and I would travel down to my aunt's house in Kentucky to visit her.  She was a missionary nun, working with people who live relatively close to me (5 hours away) but who live a very different lifestyle than I was raised in. 

I was not, by any means, raised in a household with a lot of money.  However, I was far from being poor, and really never had to do without anything (unless it was something my parents thought I didn't need!).  But, I was like most normal kids who dreamt of living in a world with endless money flowing, allowing for my every "need" to be met. 

Perhaps that was part of our (my cousins and I) parent's plan -- to help us understand our "poorness".  We never ever thought of it that way -- we thought of it as a vacation, and sometimes wondered if it was a "recruiting" trip (our aunt is a nun!), but never really considered the part about teaching us a life lesson.

During those times, Sister Marge would introduce us to a variety of people that lived in her little town of Booneville, Kentucky.  People our age (at the time early tweens), people older, and people much much older.  We would spend a week with her and work in her store (in the early years) sorting shoes, or hanging up clothes, or whatever else she needed done.  In the later years, I don't really remember ever having special jobs other than having fun with her!

During the week, she would take us with her on her "home visits".  When she moved to Booneville, there was no Catholic church in the county -- but they knew there were Catholics.  Her job was to find them and get them back into a church.  This in and of itself was a challenge, because many people in town didn't have a mode of transportation!  What that entailed was that Saturday afternoon, we would load up in her van and start the "bus route" to pick people up -- the real way to see where she lived.  We would drive up and down mountains, around curves, into hollers, all in an effort to get people to church.  We would be on paved roads, dirt roads, gravel roads -- whatever it took to get people to church.  I learned a lot in those days.  I learned about persistence, but also what it meant to do the Lord's work -- to be His hands and feet.  (I also learned that mass in Booneville didn't start until everyone was there!)

I also learned that the people of Owsley county are some of the nicest and friendliest people on earth.  Even though they are very different from me in where we live, the living conditions we have -- they are wonderful people and very thankful for the life that has been given to them. 

During my college years, (and maybe high school -- I don't remember for sure!) -- my mom and I would spend time at Christmas going down to visit Marge.  She would have a daylong event where people could come in, "shop" for presents for their children and families, and return home.  I think at one point we even wrapped the gifts for people!  There was no exchange of money.  The items that were available were donated (and were new things), and the people would arrive and be given a point value that they were able to spend on each child in the family.  It was super fun to help each parent find the perfect present for their child, especially knowing that many of these families would have no Christmas without this opportunity.

Somewhere along the line -- with marriage and having children -- I ran out of time at Christmas to take the time to go and help her.  I never forgot about it, though -- and would think of everyone each year when I knew the shopping opportunity was going to happen. 

A couple of years ago, I started thinking it was getting to be time for me to start going back.  Earlier this year, I made the decision that this was the year to go back.  Oddly enough, earlier this week I had to fight back feelings and thoughts that I didn't have time to do this to force myself to go! 

My brother, Joe, had mentioned to me that he went last year and fully intended to go back this year.  I said that we could ride together if he had room, and mentioned that I wanted to bring one or two of my kids with me.  We looked at everyone's schedules and quickly realized that Sarah would be the only one of our kids that would be able to travel with me. 

We left Wednesday at noon and began our journey down.  Pretty uneventful trip down (thank goodness!), and we were greeted by the smiling faces of Sister Marge, and her sister friend, co-worker, whatever you want to call her -- Sister Angie.  Both beautiful women, inside and out.

When we walked into Marge's house, I was immediately taken back several years.  There sat a woman, Mary, who had been there every time I had been there for Christmas years before.  When I asked, she said she's been helping Marge for 35 years, and hasn't missed a one!  I was amazed!  Her youngest son is 37 and cooks for a retirement home.  He is quite the chef!  He made us sweet rolls for breakfast and the most amazing garlic bread for lunch.  I was in heaven!

In the evening when we arrived, Sister Marge had a little project for us.  It involved delivering some presents to some local people which required the assistance of the man in the red suit.  Marge thought we would have fun helping out.  Joe brought along his son, Ben, who hasn't quite figured out all of the "mysteries of the season", so I volunteered to stay back with him while they took on the task of assisting Santa to deliver these presents. 

It was quickly discovered that my daughter, Sarah, was going to have to play the role of Santa, since the suit fit!  :)  I'm pretty sure this is nothing that she originally signed up for when she agreed to come down with me, and I appreciate her doing so with a smile more than she will ever know!  When they returned, I asked them how it went -- expecting to hear the story of the family and the fun of delivering the gifts.  I was shocked into hysterical laughter when shown this photo: 

That would be Sarah, with her cousin, Maria, sitting on her lap!  Oh, my gosh, it still sends me giggling when I see it.  I found myself still cracking up as I was trying to go to sleep.  Apparently, one of the little girls that they were visiting yelled out -- "That isn't Santa, that's a girl!  She's wearing girl socks!"  Oh, my......
In the morning, we were greeted by a few wonderful sights:

The view outside of the church

Oh, my gosh, the cinnamon sweet rolls!

 Sister Marge making breakfast

Years ago (we think 25) my mom made sweatshirts for us to wear as we had our shopping day.  I spotted my sweatshirt as I was packing and stuck it with my things, hoping Sarah would wear it (it doesn't seem to fit me like it used to :).  She said yes!  I thought we would surprise Marge, but she surprised us by wearing hers, too!  What a fun thing!  It was also a super special way to feel my mom's presence with us, as she would have been there if she could have!

I tried to take a few photos that would show the vast amount of things that people from all over donated.  You will see loaded tables, but also look under the tables at the huge amount of things "hidden away".  They sort things (all done before we got there) so that new things are put out all day, so each family gets a great variety from which to choose.
The stuffed animal table -- its a little blurry, but certainly shows the choices!

 After they leave this area, they are taken to an area to get some food items -- enough to make a yummy Christmas feast -- and then some!  I forgot to take a picture of this part -- sorry!

My nephew, Ben, and his new friend, Nick.  They are the same age, and could have been brothers.  They worked and played together.

Remember early on when I said that Sister Marge always introduced us to new people?  Well, this is Ginger, a woman I met many, many years ago, and we were reunited this week.  She has such a great spirit.  Below, she is modeling a skirt, in case someone wanted it.  Such a fun person. It was fun to reconnect with her!

Ben and his friend, Nick, building a fort from boxes when the workload lightened up.

Sarah made a new friend.  They were busy playing when I caught this picture.
We were so blessed to be able to help 72 families shop for Christmas!  We offered up toys and clothes, stuffed animals and toiletries.  In return, we received smiles and hugs, Christmas wishes and much thankfulness.  We also received the best gift of all -- a lesson in what Christmas is all about.  It's not about what's under the tree -- it's about what's in the manger.  It's all about sharing His love.
I'm so thankful that my aunt has devoted her life to Christ, and in turn helped me see His love.  It will be a long time before I skip celebrating Christmas with her again!

Magnet I found on a car today -- "Keep Christ in Christmas"


Friday, December 6, 2013

Food for thought.....

I asked for strength and
God gave me difficulties to make me strong.

I asked for wisdom and
God gave me problems to solve.

I asked for prosperity and
God gave me brawn and brains to work.

I asked for courage and
God gave me dangers to overcome.

I asked for patience and
God placed me in situations where I was forced to wait.

I asked for love and
God gave me troubled people to help.

I asked for favors and
God gave me opportunities.

I received nothing I wanted
I received everything I needed.
My prayers have all been answered.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Turkey Day!

As we celebrate Thanksgiving today, I pause to be thankful for all that God has given me.  I have a wonderful husband, great kids (well, most of them!  :)  Just kidding.), some of the best brothers and sister around, terrific in-laws (how lucky is that?).  We live in a great house, in a great community, in a country that allows us to be free and make our own decisions.

There's so much to be thankful for. 

I always miss my mom's laugh when all of us are together, or my dad's chortle at the kids, but knowing that they are together today brings me such happiness that outweighs my sadness.

Today -- this year -- I am so very thankful for the gift that God gave me last weekend.  The great cheese hat trade-off was one of the outstanding moments of 2013, and maybe of my life.  I thank God so much for that moment, and the many moments that have come from that, as it has richly blessed my life.

I realize there are many who have no one to celebrate with today -- our house is always open and welcomes anyone. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Quote for the day from Pope Francis:
"If we are to share our lives with others and generously give of ourselves, we also have to realize that every person is worthy of our giving. Not for their physical appearance, their abilities, their language, their way of thinking, or for any satisfaction that we might receive, but rather because they are God’s handiwork, his creation. God created that person in his image, and he or she reflects something of God’s glory. Every human being is the object of God’s infinite tenderness, and he himself is present in their lives. Jesus offered his precious blood on the cross for that person. Appearances notwithstanding, every person is immensely holy and deserves our love. Consequently, if I can help at least one person to have a better life, that already justifies the offering of my life. It is a wonderful thing to be God’s faithful people. We achieve fulfillment when we break down walls and our heart is filled with faces and names!"

Sunday, November 24, 2013

NCYC 2013

NC!!!.......YC!!!!  NC!!.....YC!!!  Almost as familiar to me this weekend as the sound of someone calling their Buckeye friends -- OH!!  IO!! -- only this time, when you heard the familiar NC!! .....there were several thousand people from all across America willing to answer.

Wow wow wow what a weekend.  Such an unexpected treat for me to not only witness, but experience this conference first-hand.  I was expecting to watch from afar -- on video as the sessions would be broadcast live online.  Then, suddenly, I received a text on Monday -- from my friend, Robin, who asked me if I would be available to go in her place.  She was sick with pneumonia and wouldn't be able to make the trip.  I asked her to give me a bit to find out -- so I talked with my boss and his wife, who encouraged me to go.  I responded to her, and the whirlwind began.  Within 45 minutes, I had my registration papers signed, notarized, scanned, and e-mailed back to the office of youth ministry in Cincinnati.  And the journey began.

I had no idea what God had in store for me this weekend -- but it's apparent that it was His plan for me to be there.  I have so many stories to share, but will concentrate on a few, that I think ultimately led up to one of the most real, best moments of my life.

We arrived in Indianapolis on Thursday, late afternoon.  We took a bus with other local youth groups, but there were 27 people in our particular group.  We got there in time to grab a bite to eat, and then walk down to Lucas Oil Stadium for the opening of the conference.  I am always in awe of these large stadiums anyways -- no matter what I'm there for -- but I am particularly struck when I think about 23,000 people who took time away from their families, school, jobs -- to praise the name of the Lord and celebrate being Catholic!

I have to clue you in to something before I describe the weekend.  Part of the fun of the weekend is to bring items to trade, in an effort to get the kids to talk to one another and make new friends.  But another tradition is to for each group to find hats that identify them in some way.  It's also a great way for group leaders to keep their groups together.  This year, we had hats that looked like pieces of pumpkin pie -- and they were sought-after.  We told the kids they couldn't trade until Saturday night so that we could find them all weekend.  And, truthfully, by Saturday night, some of them didn't want to give them up!!!

The general sessions are great -- a time for the entire group to get a little more pumped up and hear some fantastic speakers share their faith, their trials, and to give us hope that there are others in the same boat.  Combine that with awesome music, dancing, and prayer, and these sessions are often my favorite part of the convention.  Thursday evening, we learned the them song of the conference:  "Signed Sealed Delivered", and also, Jesse Manibusan, the emcee for the weekend, taught us a great "conversation".

Who's the church?
Where's the church?...

How do we celebrate our Catholic faith?
And that is how the world knows that we are

I spent some time in the thematic park, which is a "fair" of sorts -- the artists have booths, other groups have booths, in an effort to advertise  -- there are nuns and priests, monks and brothers, t-shirts and mugs, cds and books -- you name it, you can probably find it there.  It's like nothing I've ever seen. 

Saturday, I wandered in to a session given by Mark Hart (The Bible Geek) and Matt Maher.  I always enjoy Matt's music, and have wanted to hear Mark speak, so it seemed the perfect combination to me.  Oh, man.  Was it ever the perfect combination.  I knew it was going to be good, when I saw that the place was packed.  Thankfully, it was just me, and I didn't need to get 27 seats, so I found an open seat, and plunked down to enjoy.  I'm pretty sure this hall held 7000 people if I remember correctly, and by the time the session started, there were people lined up along the walls, in the aisles, everywhere.  So it started.  Matt played -- which always makes me happy.  Mark came out and delivered a great talk about different verses in the bible and how they affect you.  I hate to say this, but I was so moved the rest of the session that I don't really remember what he said -- but wish I could!  Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a priest wearing his vestments and wondered what was going to happen.  Matt came out and explained that we were going to experience Eucharistic Adoration.  For any of you that don't know, Eucharistic Adoration, is when the blessed eucharist is placed inside a monstrance (a large gold cross that is very decorative) and processed to the front of the room, and exhibited on an altar.  Music and prayer follows --- I really don't think I can describe this well enough -- but I have been to adoration many many times in my life -- and every time is special in its own way -- but this one was as close to perfect as it can get.  The music was incredible and moved me to tears (if you remember, a few weeks ago I posted about Matt's song "Lord, I Need You" -- he played this during this time of quiet and it put me in a place I have never really been.).  We spent many minutes in prayer before the eucharist was removed and there was a celebration unlike any I've seen.  The kids were on fire!  So so awesome!

After that, I caught up with my chaperone friends and we watched a comedy club for a while.  What happened after that was the most fun I have had in a very long time.  We were walking out of this room when my friend, Teresa, spotted a megaphone without an owner.  So, all in good fun, she picked it up and started using it!!  "Steve Pulskamp!"  "Pie Heads -- where are you?"  It was so funny.  Then -- she tried to turn it off.  And ended up turning on the siren instead.  I'm pretty sure that's when she figured out who her real friends were -- when we all scattered in different directions to get away from her!  LOL  It was soooo funny!!  She finally turned it in -- but only after posing in a golf cart with it!

Saturday evening.  Kind of a big deal at NCYC.  Celebration of mass.  We all tried to prepare the youth for what they were about to experience, but really no amount of preparation can get you ready.  Even if you have been there before, it is still a very unique celebration!  I don't remember the numbers, but it was in the vicinity of 350 priests, approximately 10 bishops, and Archbishop Tobin, Archbishop of Indianapolis, was the main celebrant and homilist.  During the procession, I leaned over to my friend, Amy, and said, this is going to be awesome -- as I was watching all of them process in.  Little did I know that my daughter, Becca, was saying at the same time -- "My mom will be in tears shortly.  She always cries when there are a lot of priests!"  And I was. 

Mass was so inspiring.  I sprung a leak once again during the "Our Father".  It's a pretty powerful prayer all by itself, but, man....when you hear it and experience it being said by 23,000 people all at once -- there are no words.  As Archbishop Tobin said, "We are the church."  Last night, we were America's church -- with people in attendance from every state.  Amazing.

Immediately after mass -- the kids stormed the floor.  I'm pretty sure Jesus was smiling. 

And just when I thought things were as perfect as they were going to get for the evening, I had a surprise in store for me.  Remember the hats I described above?  Well, I had a woman approach me on Friday and ask if she could trade me her "cheese head" for my pie hat, because she is a teacher, and has "Pie Day" every year.  She thought that would be a fun addition.  As someone who has coveted the cheese heads for a long time, that was certainly an easy deal for me to make.  But, I said, I cannot trade until tomorrow evening.  She agreed, and we traded numbers so that we could locate each other the next evening. 

So, just prior to church, everyone was trading.  Marie (my hat trading friend) called to see where we were, so I told her what section.  She showed up -- we made the trade, and everyone was happy!  I had my cheese hat that I came wanting. 

Just after mass was over, a man approached me.  I can't for the life of me put the entire conversation back together, but I remember pieces of it.  He asked me if I would trade my cheese hat for his sparkly fedora and a t-shirt inside of it for one of his youth.  He said that was all that he wanted all weekend.  It honestly took me a second to consider it, but then I decided I didn't really know what I would do with it when I got home anyways, so I said yes, but I wanted the youth to ask me.  I didn't want some guy to do his kids' work for them!!!  He immediately agreed.  What ensued in the next 5 minutes changed my life.  He brought this young man down.  It was a young man I had seen during communion that made me smile and pause and say a little prayer for him.  He was blind, and as he walked up the stairs after communion, the woman walking with him had a cadence going -- big step, big step, big help him get up the stairs.  As he approached me, he had the biggest smile on his face.  He asked me my name and proceeded to tell me his name was Matt.  I gave him his cheese hat, but asked for one thing in return:  that he pray for me.  (My friend and fellow chaperone, Steve, had given me that idea -- thanks, Steve!)  I told him I wanted to be his prayer partner and asked if he would be mine.  He smiled the most beautiful smile I've ever seen and said, "Of course!"

I asked him if he was friends with Steve Angrisano, because I hadn't caught where he was from, but Steve had told a story earlier in the day about a Matt that was in his youth group that was blind, and I wondered if they were one and the same.  He said no, but that he knew Steve and Steve knew him as well. 

We took a few pictures, as I wanted to remember that smile forever. 

Awesome story, right?  Well, I soon found out there was more to this story.  I texted the first picture to my friend, Marie, with whom I had traded hats originally, and told her I had traded her hat away.  She texted me back right away and said, "Oh, my God.  That is amazing.  He was with his dad today and wanted it so badly.  I told him I promised it to you.  That is unbelievable.  Thank you so much!"

I e-mailed Matt this morning, so that he would have my e-mail address.  He was, of course, still on a bus on his way home, but shortly afterwards, I received an e-mail back.  From his mom. 

Dear Pam,

I hope you don't mind, but I read your e-mail.  Matt told me all about you last night.  He was so excited!  He was more excited about meeting you and becoming prayer partners, before he even told me that you gave him your cheese head (is that one or two words?  LOL).  I was so touched when he told me that, I got choked up!  And how funny it was that I read your e-mail now?  I just finished reading "Morning Prayer" and the one reading spoke of keeping the Kingdom of God alive in you and proclaiming it to others forever, and you did that last night!  Thank you so much for your generosity towards Matt!  The Lord will reward you one hundred fold!  God is so awesome!  Thank you again so much!  I will read him your e-mail when he gets home tonight.....late!  God bless you!

No, Matt....thank YOU!  I saw the light of Jesus in you last night.  You are a special guy.  One who changed MY life forever.

Our God is truly an awesome God.  He had a plan for me this weekend -- I truly let go and let God.  And had the experience of a lifetime.  I will never forget what happened those last minutes after mass.  God is so good!

Signed.  Sealed.  Delivered.  NCYC2013

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Lord, I Need You!

Today's one of those days....everywhere I look, someone needs my (our) prayers!

I knew a while ago that a local girl was going to have surgery today.  Her dad is a teacher at our high school, and the entire community and surrounding area has adopted little Raygen as their own -- to pray for, to hope for, to wish for.  Today, she went in for a pretty major surgery.  I spoke for a while with her dad last night, hoping to encourage him.  He spoke of how the community and surrounding areas have supported her and their entire family in ways that he never dreamt.  He spoke of good will and paying it forward.  I know she has felt the love and encouragement of everyone throughout this whole process -- I even spotted a photo of her mom's co-workers supporting Raygen Strong t-shirts today at work!  How very awesome!

Our little neighbor boy, who has been through so much the past couple of months, returned to the hospital for yet another surgery and stay yesterday.......he's so little, yet so loved by so many.  His parents and grandparents are such fantastic people -- one just wants this over for him so that he can return to normal life and getting into things like every one year old should!

I pray for someone close to me whose husband recently lost his job.  I got a phone call on my way in to work this morning, letting me know of this situation.  I pray for their family to get through the struggle of figuring out how to deal with the unexpected situation of living on one income.  I pray for courage and strength for them.

I pray for a very dear friend of mine -- one of my oldest friends in the whole world -- who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.....I pray that her tests today reveal that the cancer has not spread.  I pray for her husband, their children, and extended family -- I pray for peace within for all of them.

I'm still reeling from the news that someone who was very dear to me passed away last week, and I didn't know until after the funeral was over.  I was unable to pay my respects to dear Ginny.....she loved this blog and would beg me to write more.  So, in honor of her, I promise to be more faithful. 

Throughout the day at work today, I spent many times in prayer -- at the copier, waiting for something, a spare moment....thank you to my dear Patty who didn't look at me strangely when I teared up talking about all of this going on. 

Through it all, I kept hearing one thing in my head -- Lord I need you.  I have spoken of this song to many people in the past couple of weeks -- it has become my mantra.  Today, more than ever, I relied on this song very heavily. 

This particular video is from World Youth Day this past August.  I have to say that this had to have been one of the most powerful moments of the entire event.  Please take a few minutes and watch it -- and take it in.  Then, if necessary, watch it again.

I hope and pray with all my heart that everyone above felt my prayers today.  I think my thoughts today went to the fact that I always need the Lord -- just some days I need him more than others!  I wonder if he got tired of hearing from me today?  :)

I hope your day was better.  If you need a few people to pray for, have at my list above!  Or add your own in the comments and I'll add them to my prayer list!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Wall of Honor Induction

It was my honor to watch on Sunday as my aunt, Sister Marge Eilerman, OSF, was inducted into the Fort Loramie Schools Wall of Honor.  Bestowed upon people who, "through their performance, achievements and contributions, reflect credit on the Fort Loramie Local Schools so that present-day students may find identity with the past and establish goals for the future", Marge was certainly an excellent candidate!!!

For those that haven't had the pleasure of meeting her, Sister Marge is a Franciscan nun, who has been a missionary her whole life.  She taught grade school, worked in Mexico for a few years, then worked in administration at the convent for a while before settling in Kentucky to work with the good people there.

Marge has always been so much more than an aunt to me.  As little girls, my cousins, Elaine and Diane, and myself, would spend a week with her each summer, working side by side with her -- travelling to people's houses and helping her do whatever she needed done -- sorting shoes, helping in her store, whatever -- and there was always a whole lotta fun that week, too.

We would go on picnics, and hike through the Appalachian Mountains with her.  Two outings with her really stick out in my mind -- one night she took us to Renfro Valley to see a country music show.  It was my first real "show" of any kind -- it was so exciting!  I have no idea who we saw, but I remember the room being huge (I would love to see it now and see if I still think that!) and the acts being great!

Another time, she took us through a drive through area where you could see many different kinds of animals.  At one point, we saw a bear way far away in the distance.  For whatever reason, all three of us were riding in the back seat of the car.  I was in the middle (because I had to keep Elaine and Diane apart!  LOL) -- Elaine was on the left (behind Marge) and Diane on the right.  When we got out of the car to look at the bear, Diane got out on her side and Elaine and I got out on the other side, because we were closer to the bear.  Well, let me tell you -- that bear was probably 1/2 mile away -- but as soon as it took ONE STEP, Elaine dove back in the car.  The problem?  She forgot I was behind her!!!  I STILL remember hitting my head on the door of the car that day -- and then laughing hysterically for a long time at our fear of a bear that really wasn't close enough to harm us.  (In fact, I'm still laughing -- with tears running down my face -- remembering this story!)

All of these thoughts kept flooding back to me in the days leading up to her receiving this award.  But more than the funny stories, what I kept thinking about was what we really learned those weeks we spent with her.  You see, Marge is a missionary nun.  Her job is to serve those who need served.  She does this so incredibly well. 

If my memory serves me correctly, we stayed in three different places with her -- the rectory in McKee, KY; and then her first house in Booneville, KY, which held the little shed that would eventually become the first Catholic church in the county; and finally, her house by their "big church" that they built when they had built the "church" up.  My memories from all three places are warm and wonderful.  The people that she works with (both other nuns and the people she serves) are incredible.  Between her and them, I learned some very valuable lessons.  Many of the people in these towns have very little.  It's mountainous land, so companies really don't want to build factories there because of the difficulty getting supplies there, so many people are unemployed.  Yet they don't want to move, because their families are there.  They want to remain close to each other.

I went with her to many homes that many of us would not really call homes -- dirt floors, very few (if any at all) furnishings - they were lucky to have running water and heat in the winter.  Each week, she picks people up for church, because many can't drive -- either because they don't have a license or they don't have a vehicle.  It always made me chuckle because church starts on Saturday evening when everyone's there!!!  I remember hearing them call roll call before starting mass to be sure it didn't start before everyone was there!

I learned so many lessons from her (and them) that I have tried to keep in my life -- appreciate what you have because many would love to have even half of what we have! 

Probably the biggest lesson that all of the people in Kentucky have taught me over the years, though, is simple.  Many of the people that Marge exposed me to had little to nothing.  Their "Sunday best" and my "Sunday best" were two very different things.  But, they had heart.  Lots and lots of heart.  And lots and lots of love for the Lord! 

For many  years, I would spend my birthday with Marge.  We would sort and distribute gifts to people who otherwise would not have a Christmas.  It would always drive home to me the spirit of Christmas.  When I got married and had my family, I got out of that habit.  I have been feeling the tug to go back.  I think that this year is my year to go back.  I think I need a little reminder of just what Christmas is all about. 

I couldn't be prouder of this woman I call my aunt.  She has faced adversity in her life head on.  She has accomplished things many of us only dream of.  But more importantly, she has helped many in her community deal with the daily struggles that they have -- sometimes that is just getting dinner on the table. 

Congratulations on this award, but also thank you for teaching me, and others about humanity and compassion and love.  Love you, Marge!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Paying It Forward....sometimes it IS the little things!

I love the concept of Paying It Forward......Lord knows that there were certainly times in our lives that Jim and I needed a little nudge to keep moving it forward, and He was always there in one way or another to help  us along.  With that in mind, we try to pay things forward whenever we can.

We are by no means rich, so our version of paying it forward doesn't usually involve new homes, or cars, or even new wardrobes.  Our version is just enough to hopefully put a smile on someone else's face.  Oddly enough, it is usually people we don't know.

Our biggest source of paying it forward is on toll roads.  Generally, when we go through the toll booth, we pay for the car behind us.  If Jim is driving, we speed ahead and don't really get a good look on the faces of those that we just paid for.  I'm not looking for a thank you -- in fact, we do try to stay ahead so that that doesn't happen -- but I do like to see the surprised looks on people's faces when they realize we paid their toll (which we do get to see if I'm driving :) ).

So recently, I went to Aldi's to pick up a few things.  Actually, I knew about exactly what I was getting and had already decided I wasn't going to mess around with getting a cart, because I didn't want to dig a quarter out of my purse.  (For anyone unfamiliar with Aldi -- they are a discount grocery store and one of their claims to fame is that you put a quarter in the cart to detach it from the other carts -- with the idea that people will return the carts easier to get their quarter back.  And, I must say -- it works!)

Well, as I approached the store, a woman came to me and offered me her cart.  I thought, "Ugh, I don't want to dig a quarter out!"  Just that quick, she mentioned to me that she didn't want anything for it, as someone else had given it to her.  I decided that when I was done, I would give it to someone else.

OK, I thought, I'm supposed to have this.  So, I grabbed the cart and went on my merry way.  I got outside, looked around, and, as luck would have it -- there is no one for me to give my cart to!  Being the quick thinker that I am :) -- I just put it back with the other carts and didn't attach it, so the next person wouldn't have to pay the quarter.

By the time I got to my car and put my items in the back seat, I noticed a woman approaching the carts.  I hadn't planned on staying to see who got "my" cart, but thought I would watch and see if she took it.  She was so cute!  She tried to put her quarter in, and when it wouldn't go in, pulled the cart out.  She looked around to see if she was doing something wrong, smiled, and went on her way.

Something so small, but her day was made!  So cute!

I've decided to add this to my list of Pay It Forwards.  Maybe three carts each time.  Such an inexpensive way to make people's days.

How do you pay it forward?  Feel free to share your ideas.  I'm always looking for fun things!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Luke's confusing Gospel!

As I sat in church this morning listening to the Gospel, I was a little confused.  I hadn't read the readings before mass as I often do, so I was surprised when I heard things like "Hating your parents" in the Gospel!  What?!?!?!?  That can't be right!

Here is the Gospel, in case you have forgotten:
LK 14:25-33

Great crowds were traveling with Jesus,
and he turned and addressed them,
“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother,
wife and children, brothers and sisters,
and even his own life,
he cannot be my disciple.
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me
cannot be my disciple.
Which of you wishing to construct a tower
does not first sit down and calculate the cost
to see if there is enough for its completion?
Otherwise, after laying the foundation
and finding himself unable to finish the work
the onlookers should laugh at him and say,
‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’
Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down
and decide whether with ten thousand troops
he can successfully oppose another king
advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?
But if not, while he is still far away,
he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms.
In the same way,
anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions
cannot be my disciple.”

He's talking about the cost of discipleship -- and, although he's comparing it to the cost (financially) of building things, I think if we dig deeper, what he's getting at is how much does it cost us to follow Jesus?  He's challenging us with his words!

Father Tom touched on this in his homily this morning -- talking about how easy it is for us to say we love our friends and family, but how difficult it can be to love (or even just include) that person that isn't one of us.

I wonder if my jaw dropped when he started talking about this.  I try really hard in my life to be the person who includes all.  After all, I've been that person that's been left out, or talked about, and frankly, I didn't enjoy it very much.

Recently, I have been focusing my efforts on gaining acceptance for someone that I feel has been ostracized from not just one group, but many.  They do not know that I have been doing this, and hopefully will not find out.  I'm trying to bring this person at least into my fold, so that they know they are comfortable there.  I realize that I cannot change the world, or change how others think or feel, but I am working to try to get some to change their views.  Is this person perfect?  No, not at all.  Do they have their flaws?  They most certainly do.  But it's ok, because I do, too.

I don't tell you this story so that you will think I am a hero (because I'm not).  I tell you this story because you probably have someone in your life that could stand a little of your attention.  I challenge you to do the same.  What can it hurt?

I read a very interesting quote the other day.  I don't know that I think that it applies to me in this situation, but it may to you.  No matter which, I really enjoyed it and want to share it:

You have never really lived until you have done something for somebody who can never repay you.

Wow!!!  Awesome thought.   Have a good week, everyone.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The anniversary of the passing of a tremendous woman.......

Today marks 16 years since Mother Teresa died.  It hardly seems that long ago to me.  I remember that week, because Princess Diana lost her life just days before in that horrific accident.  I was a huge fan of hers (actually, still am of her sons) -- and then the news that Mother Teresa had died struck.  It was an interesting week, to say the least.

She was a magnificent person.  Although I am sure I would have never had the chance to meet her, I wish I would have.  One always wonders when you hear such marvelous things about someone you have never met -- are they REALLY like that?  Did she really not have even one eensy weensy mean bone in her body?  From all accounts, the answer to that is no!

A few weeks ago, someone shared with me this story of Dr. Lombardi, who took care of Mother Teresa at a point in her life when she was critically ill (not immedicately prior to her death, at least in this story).  If you haven't heard it, please take a listen:  Mission to India.  It's a great story of how someone's life can be changed by just a phone call.

I remember thinking when Mother Teresa died how interesting it was that her and Princess Diana died so close together.  They were hardly the best of friends, but they did have some great photo opportunities together, and did some work together.  I am hopeful that they were able to encourage each other.

Thinking back to Mother Teresa makes me think of some of her famous quotes.  If you know me, you know that I love her quotes.  One of my favorites has always been:

"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile."

I found a compilation of several of her best known quotes.  What is your favorite?

 "A life not lived for others is not a life."
"Each one of them is Jesus in disguise."
"God doesn't require us to succeed; He only requires that you try."
"I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples."
"I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, 'How many good things have you done in your life?' rather he will ask, 'How much love did you put into what you did?'"
"I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things."
"I know God won't give me anything I can't handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much."
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
"If we pray, we will believe; If we believe, we will love; If we love, we will serve."
"If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are."
"If you judge people, you have no time to love them."
"I'm a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world."
"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless."
"Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is beauty, admire it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is a tragedy, confront it. Life is an adventure, dare it. Life is luck, make it. Life is too precious, do not destroy it. Life is life, fight for it."
"Live simply so others may simply live."
"Peace begins with a smile."
"The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway."
"What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family."
"When you don't have anything, then you have everything."
"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin."
"Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat."
"Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies."
"I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love."
"If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one."
"It is a kingly act to assist the fallen."
"Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love."
"Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand."
"One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody."
"We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love."
Please share your favorites with me.
May she rest in peace.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mixed emotions.....

Well, it's that time of year again....time to move the kids back to college.  This year, I said kids -- with an "s" first time moving two back!!!  And, of course, they are both going back early for band camp, which means....I get one less week with them!

Friday we move Emily to Ashland University, where she will embark on her college career with an intended double major in English and Creative Writing.  She is so excited she can't stand it, so I am, too!  (Until I get there and it's time to leave -- but I'm going to attempt to leave Krybaby Kaiser back at home this time and be a big girl!).

Saturday, it's Sarah's turn to move into her apartment at the University of Dayton, where she will be a junior majoring in Communications.  She is excited for different reasons -- she has a whole other set of friends at school that she can't wait to see again -- and I'm sure she's ready to get out from under her parent's thumbs!!!

I've been reflecting a whole lot the past couple of weeks about this moving up -- and out -- process.  It's not anything new to me -- and it's certainly what I want for our children, to be ready to  move on and figure out who they are and what they want to be.  I've had lots of people ask me how to do it -- how to move them out and be happy for them.

The first thing I tell everyone is that on the day you move them out, it seems at first glance like you will never see them again -- but let me tell you, that isn't the truth!  They will be home -- and bring their laundry, and friends, and in the summer, their "stuff"!!!  So, that's not the sad part.....

To me, the sad part is that on that day, when they move out -- your family dynamic changes -- forever.  No longer does that person "live" in your home -- even when they are home for the summer, things are still different!  So, each time another person moves, I feel a little piece of me go with them.

I try not to worry too much about them -- I hope and pray that we have raised responsible kids who make good choices.  I can't worry about their every move -- I would go crazy(ier!).  I just try to "let go and let God"!  Another thought is that our jobs as parents is to first give our kids roots, then give them wings and let them soar!

Jim and I have totally relied on prayer to get us through when Sarah, and now Emily, are at school.  I have found this beautiful prayer and read it often.  I would like to share it with you, in case you are preparing to send one (or more!) of your kids off to school.  I hope it brings you comfort!

A Parent’s Prayer When Children are Leaving Home

Gracious God,
you blessed me
with the gift of my child
and entrusted me
with his/her care.
Now he/she leaves this home
and begins a new life
apart from me.
Surround him/her
with good people
and watch over him/her each day.
And let him/her know that I will always be near
whenever he/she may need me.
Heal any hurts we may harbor with one another
and forgive our failings as we learn
to be in a new kind of relationship with each other.
And when the sight of his/her empty room
pierces my heart with sadness,
may I find comfort in knowing that my child is your child too,
filled with your grace and sheltered by your love. Amen. 

(By Diana Macalintal)

Transitions are hard on everyone - but it is comforting to know that God loves your children even more than you do, and He hears your prayers.   May He bless all of you preparing to send your kids off.  Let me know if you would like us to add you to our prayer list!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Words to live by.....

Sorry I have been AWOL a bit.....trying to get back in the swing of things after vacation!  Alas, here is a little tidbit to tide you over....

Rise above the pain! You are bigger than your circumstances or your life situation. Your life is not defined by your relationship status, your current job, your bank account, or anything that you have or have not done in the past. Don't listen to any person or automatic negative thoughts that may have conditioned you to think of yourself or your life as a failure.

Don’t ever choose a permanent solution for a temporary problem. You have people who need you and who are counting on you. There is always another day and another way. Rise above the pain, and know that deep inside of you there is another person waiting to break through. You have the ability to rebuild, regroup, recover, and revive!! Breathe life into your dream. Know that you can live a meaningful and purposeful life. You are an unrepeatable miracle, and your dream can live... despite what you feel and inspite of what you're going through right now! You have something have GREATNESS within you!
― Les Brown

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Upcoming Event: Saturday March 9 2013!

Hello!  Long time, no post -- I'm so sorry!  I've been off with my honey on our dream vacation -- to Hawaii!!!  I'm happy to report we had a blast -- here's a sneak peek photo -- and are back to normal.  :)

(That's from our helicopter tour, which was totally awesome!)

I promise a post about this soon, but first.....I must tell you I am very excited to announce I have a big speaking engagement this weekend!!!  I will be speaking for the Magnificat of Lima Group at the Old Barn Out Back.  I remember when Sharree asked me several months ago, I mentioned it would be right after our vacation, but somehow, it has still snuck up on me!

Registration begins at 9:30 am, with breakfast shortly after.  I think I'm up around 11 am to speak.  Pre-registration is not necessary, although I'm sure they would love to have a count prior to the day.  If you click on the Upcoming Events tab on top, I've added the brochure so you can view and print it.  It has all the details!

If you're planning to come, let me know -- so I can look for you and also so I can be sure to NOT tell any stories about you.  If you aren't there, I can't make that promise........

Hope to see you Saturday!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

She did it!

Remember when you were young, and dating someone, and people always said to you, "Remember, you not only marry the person, you marry their family as well!"  I remember hearing that often.  And probably didn't go out with some people a second or third time because of that fact :).  However, I have to say that when I met Jim, and then his family, I didn't think I would have a problem.  And, for the most part, I've been right!  (Well, there's still the little issue of my mother-in-law feeding my children Little Debbies for breakfast, which they still remember and hope she does whenever they see her at breakfast!)

Other than that, I have been so blessed.  Jim's family is so awesome. Over the years, we have had some really high highs (weddings, babies, etc.) and we have also had our share of sadness....but we have always come through with flying colors and probably a little better off because of it.

The past 2 years have been a little harder than most, as Jim's mom, Linda, has experienced some health problems.  If I remember correctly, it all started with a little hitch in her hip that she wanted to get fixed.  Well, one thing led to another, and she ended up getting her heart worked on, her thyroid worked on, her hip fixed (finally!) and, probably the scariest part, discovered breast cancer when all of that was over.

She has been through chemo (and actually has several more months of the "easier" kind (if there is such a thing)) and radiation.  A week ago, we celebrated her graduation from chemo with a lunch out.  Her daughter Jenny, sister in law Jean, sister Connie, a couple of other friends and I went to lunch to celebrate this momentous occasion.  As I sat at that lunch and looked around the table, it was an extraordinary moment to me.  She was sitting amidst people she had been around most of her life, celebrating her life!  There were balloons and flowers and of course a little wine to celebrate with.

I really wanted to write today about this remarkable woman who has raised such a great family (and a husband, too!) and is loved by so many.  So often we center ourselves around the painful part of cancer (many times, it's our only option), but today we celebrate a woman who faced her trial head on, rarely complaining and looking radiantly beautiful through the experience.

If I could have seen in the future when I was dating Jim into this beautiful family he is a part of, I would have thanked people for the lovely warning to be welcomed among them.  Linda, the trooper who fought her way through, and the rest who were all there with her every step of the way.

Hugs to you, Linda!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Oh, the memories......

I had a fun day at work yesterday.  Well, every day is fun -- but this one was extra special.  We had a client come in our office that I  had not met before.  Dan was busy finishing a few things up before he met with him, so I started chatting with him and his wife (imagine that!).

I noted right away that he was wearing a War Veterans ball cap and made a mental note to ask him what was he fought in.  We were discussing if they would like coffee while they waited when they explained to me they had just taken their "break" at home before they came.  (They stop what they are doing and come together to have coffee or some other liquid refreshment together!)

He started talking about how it saddens him that he is getting old enough that he needs to take these breaks. He mentioned that when he was in the Korean War, he would be out and about for hours and hours and hours and never once stop.  (Mental note checked off.)

He went on to say that when he worked for Sidney Electric and Area Energy that he would work 9-10-11 hour days without batting an eye -- he would be tired when he got home, but he could handle it.

Whoa!  I exclaimed -- you worked for Sidney Electric AND you were in the Korean War?  You have to have known my daddy, Harold Goettemoeller.  Did you?

Immediately, a smile crossed his face.  "Oh, yes, I knew your dad.  Very well.  The old cuss!"

We proceeded to spend the next 5 or 10 minutes talking about Dad and his ornry ways at work.  I mentioned to him that I have been having strong urges lately to "fix" signs (Dad was well known for "improving" signs to add things that were funny) -- and he chuckled all over again.  He spoke of how he and dad used to spar over tractors (Dad was a to-the-bone John Deere guy -- nothing else; this man was an International Harvester guy.)  He mentioned that he told Dad one time that he had a John Deere lawn mower and Dad said that he had come over to the John Deere side.  The guy responded that he hadn't but.....John Deere was good at making lawn mowers but nothing bigger!  LOL

I've been smiling since that conversation.  I hope that gentleman has, too.

I've noticed that many times when people speak of my parents, a smile crosses their face.

I'm trying to live my life so that when I'm gone, the same thing happens.  I hope I'm on the right path!

Friday, January 25, 2013

A totally Mommy post!

As you are aware, our oldest daughter is away at college at the University of Dayton.  Sarah's a sophomore there, so we are getting used to her being away from home.  However, every mother will tell you that when your child is sick, you want to take care of them.  And, I'm pretty sure they want to be taken care of.

So, imagine my conundrum earlier this week when Sarah texted me and said she didn't feel well.  Then felt like she had a fever.  Couldn't sleep.  Slept a lot!  Had a sore throat.  Nothing tasted good.  Ugh!  It's only the second week of classes, so she needed to be there and couldn't come home to rest.

I tried to advise from afar as long as I could.  Until last night.  I got a text from her stating her neck hurt.  Uh oh, I thought.  My thoughts immediately went to meningitis, but I backed off.  Thankfully.  I backed off to -- "how is your throat today?  Have you looked at it?"  My response from her was that it hurt and -- a picture of her throat!!!

I won't gross you out and post the picture, but let it suffice to say that every hint my pediatrician ever gave me for how to diagnose strep throat was in that particular photo!  I blew it up to look at it really good and said, "call the doctor.  You have strep throat!"

So she made an appointment for this morning.  I told her to tell the nurse that story -- it would make her chuckle.  She did and the nurse laughed and told her to tell me to get my tonsils out if I have seen strep that often!  LOL  They did a rapid strep test and wah-la -- she has strep.

If only I could prescribe meds.........

Please don't send me your photos to diagnose your illnesses!  I'm very faint at heart when it comes to that stuff -- kind of like I really could only change my own kids' poopy diapers -- no other.  I'll stick with diagnosing my own!

Get better soon, Sarah!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A note from Rachel's mother......

Message from Teresa ~ Rachels's MOM~Update on Rachel: Praise God, she has a new heart! It came last night on Jan. 19th, 10 1/2 years after her first transplant on June 19, 2002. At 7 a.m. she is doing well and resting comfortably. Heart seems to be working great, some bleeding issues that they think are resolved. She is in very critical shape, but still fighting for life. Pray continually now for her body to accept the new heart and for all the doctors and nurses here at Cleveland. We are so overwhelmed by the greatness of God and his love and mercy for Rachel and for our family. Keep praying!

I couldn't have said it better myself!  Let's keep praying that Rachel's body accepts this new heart and she recovers quickly!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Thank God for Answered Prayers!

Thank God for answered prayers this evening!  Yesterday, Rachel was blessed with a new heart!  Surgery went well, and she is doing ok.  She now faces a long road to recovery.  We already know she's tough and can handle anything, so I hope that this road is not as hard as anticipated.

Tonight, we send out our prayers to the family of Rachel's heart donor.  Prayers for strength, and also prayers of thankfulness for their generosity.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Prayers coming from where?

I thought it would be fun to show Rachel (see yesterday's blog post) who is all praying for her -- and where you are.  We never really realize the power and impact of the internet until there is an event that pulls people together.  I can seeyou are from -- so let's tell Rachel where you are from.  Consider this her online get well card!

Please leave a comment below, or on my Facebook page -- I will be sure she gets them!


Continued prayers for her!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Prayers for Rachel

People come into our lives in a variety of ways -- we meet them in elementary school, move in next door to them, work with them, go to church with them, our kids go to school with their kids.....the list goes on and on......

And sometimes you don't ever meet just "know" them.  The young woman I am about to write about is someone just like that.  I am not sure if I have ever met her before or not.  She just turned 21 and went to high school with some of my nieces. 

When I was little, we sat behind her grandparents (and dad) in church.  (I don't know if you do this, but we sat in the same pew every Sunday -- and so did they!).

My sister graduated with her dad.

My niece graduated with her.

I once watched her in a pageant.  She is such a neat young lady.

When she was 10 years old, she received a heart transplant.  Her heart wasn't doing the job any more.  That is about the time she came into my world, and I knew who she was.  We prayed for her.  We prayed the very difficult prayer that she would receive a new chance at life.  It's a difficult prayer because in order for her to receive a new chance at life, someone else has to end theirs.  That's tough.

Today, I ask you to "meet" Rachel Doseck.  She turned 21 on Sunday and is looking for a third chance at life.  She recently contracted the flu, and it attacked her heart.  Since then, her body has started rejecting her heart.  Today, she sits in the Cleveland Clinic in the ICU awaiting a new heart.  A new chance at life. 

I ask you to come with me in prayer for her and her family.  I also ask, if it is God's will, for her to receive a new heart -- but for prayers for the family who is generous with their gift to her.  Please, even if you have never met her face to face, meet with her in prayer.

Her words:  "I will be put on the list tomorrow for another heart transplant! So After tomorrow any day i could get another heart transplant! SO PLEASE PRAY FOR GOD'S HEALING! Everyone pray because I need it! But at least i lived a good life at the end of day thanks for memories and hopefully many more to come!!!!!!!!!!! ♥"

Wow!  What a powerful message!

This has really caused me to think this week about organ donation, and the need for it.  Please prayfully consider giving life to another should your life, or your children's, be cut short.

Here is a really nice article about her and her journey, along with another's perspective of organ donation:  Wapak Daily News Heart Transplant article.

Lots of prayers heading to Cleveland this night!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New recipe -- Tortilla Soup!

I made this last week for the first time -- and man, was it good!  The kids loved it!  I loved that it was easy (I actually made it in the crockpot, which made it even easier)!!!!

I skipped the lemon juice (only because we didn't have any) but other than that, I followed the recipe (times two).

Chicken Tortilla Soup



  1. In a large pot over medium heat, cook and stir chicken in the oil for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin and mix well. Then add the broth, corn, onion, chili powder, lemon juice, and salsa. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Break up some tortilla chips into individual bowls and pour soup over chips. Top with the Monterey Jack cheese and a little sour cream.