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Sally Bolderson: Journal

There is No Winner - November 10, 2016

Today is two days past an emotional election for the USA. I am what I call the black sheep in a liberal family. I am the one who loves my faith and my God. I feel that my faith is the absolute core of my being, my soul. My Catholic faith was a gift from my parents when I was an infant. I was nurtured in the faith and I grew in the faith. So, consequently, I live in the faith. My goal in life is to be the best person I can be in this life and to hopefully find my way to heaven to be with so many people I love and miss so much.

Over the past several months I have struggled and prayed over this election process, how is would affect those in my family and how it would affect me. I found myself trying to do whatever would help everyone, but there was not an option out there that could that. I asked God some very direct questions and I clearly heard some very clear responses. I heard that I am not God (nowhere close), that life is sacred and I was to put that as a priority, particularly when it comes to the unborn. I heard that I was to stay true to my faith. I kept hearing that to be true in your faith you have to be willing to accept the fact that there may be times when you will be head to head in conflict with those who you love in order to do that. It's not out of spite, it's not out of prejudice. I love my family, but I also need to love myself.

I just saw a post by one of my family members, slamming those of us who voted for Trump with innuendoes of prejudice and ignorance. That is just the kind of stuff that is killing this country...the generalizations and accusations that bear no truth to what is really the motivation. As far as my reason for voting as I did, it started with the fear of actions that would interfere with my religious freedoms. My second was abortion. I'm not just the zealot Catholic who is pushing my morality on the country. I am a sinner who because I was too weak to face the consequences of my actions, chose to kill my child. The summer after I graduated from high school I became pregnant and rather than face my parents I panicked and chose the abortion route. And I kept that secret until a few years ago when I told a select few people and since that time, since I've told my kids, and since I've seen my daughter struggle with infertility I have lived with the heartache of that child that I never got to know because I was too much of a coward. I can't stand by and let other women go through that. It may seem like the answer at the time, but trust me, it is a deep hole that is in your being forever. God creates each being for a purpose.

Yesterday morning when I woke up to find that Donald Trump had one, I was stunned, I cried because I knew that the things that are important to me would be hurting those I care for. And I AM sorry for that, but I can't deny who I am and I can't make everyone happy. I love people, all people no matter where they are coming from. I try to understand their struggles and pray that we can all become a communal people that just try to be good to each other and stop the name calling and the finger pointing and just work together for a solution. We can't continue to be so drastically divided. We must meet somehow in the middle. And until there is someone out there willing to represent us all in the middle, I suppose this is how it will be.

A Love Story - April 27, 2016

It was a beautiful, sunny day on October 11, 1970. I was a mere 14 years old, basking in the thrills of my first Homecoming at Mercy High School. As I cheered on our Bulldogs at the football game that afternoon, I could never have guessed that in just a few short hours, my life would change forever.

I remember getting ready for the dance and waiting for my girlfriend's dad to take us. It was there that I met my one true love, Dave. I remember him asking me to dance and the tingle I got at being so close. I went home on a cloud, dizzy in love...love at first sight! I was hoping that when I got to school on Monday that I would recognize him and when I saw him, my heart pattered. We were together from that day on. We never broke up, we were always true to each other.

In 1978, after 4 years of high school and Dave's 4 years away at college, we were married. In 1981, God blessed us with our first child, Angela. We were so thrilled with our little girl. In 1982, we were once again blessed with a daughter, Joanne. In 1984, we had JD. Our family was complete.

As family life and work does, life became the monotonous rut that happens with so many things going on, a vicious cycle. We fell into that rut and although we didn't have the "romance" emanating from us, we did have each other, we knew that if something came up that needed our attention, we would be there to get each other through.

At some point, in the late 1990's, early 2000's Dave started having health issues. We struggled with many different problems that escalated and compounded as time went on. Along with that, our daughter, Angela, was diagnosed with endstage renal disease and started dialysis in 2006. Then right after her 30th birthday, she was found to have a pseudotumor (fluid on the brain) on the left side of her head. This left her optic nerves scarred and her legally blind. She was also diagnosed with an actual brain tumor on the right side of her brain. Needless to say, these were tense years, but we hung in there and hung on to the strength of our relationship, our love, to endure the challenges.

In August, 2014, Dave's illnesses began to get the best of him. He struggled so hard to overcome the hurdles, but ultimately they overpowered him. As he struggled in the hospital and rehab, I spent as much time as I could with him. We would talk and just be present to each other. As the days drew closer to the end, our love bloomed again. In hindsight, I found myself regretting that so much time was spent in monotony and that when we were connecting again, he had to leave.

Today, it's one year since he left. Life is different, I still go about my daily responsibilities, but I miss his smile and his silly jokes and just being there. Love you, Dave! Waiting anxiously until the day we will be together again.

Life and Love - April 10, 2015

I am so sorry for the delay in posting. It's been almost a year! And an eventful one it has been. Going back to last April, life has been pretty repetitive, work, home, sleep work, church, sleep, etc. That is until August. Then things have tumbled immensely.

It's an ongoing journey that began on August 21st. It was the first day of school where my husband, Dave, teaches. He loves his "kids" and was looking forward to another year. Then he started feeling sick and ended up going home early. The following day he still didn't feel well. Our daughter, Angela, was home from work that day and thankfully she was. Dave called me around 11:00 am saying that his defibrillator had fired 3 times. By the time I got to Angela and called a paramedic he had passed out. He was taken to the nearest hospital. He was there for about a month, most of it in ICU. For a lot reasons he ended up with his legs not working. He was sent to a rehab center for about 6 weeks and came home on November 15th.

There were still a lot of mobility issues and just the fact that he was wiped out. His kidneys had failed in this process and he began 3 days a week dialysis along with our daughter. He was doing daily therapy and making strides, walking with a walker and even with just a cane around the house! Until he fell on February 26th and hurt his shoulder. The routine started all over. He was hospitalized again for about 3 weeks and then was sent back to rehab. Five days later he his oxygen level was low so they sent him back to another hospital for about a wee and a half. 4 days later, last Saturday, April 4th, I received a call from the rehab center that he had to go to the hospital because he was having trouble breathing and his nail beds were blue. Once the paramedics got they, they couldn't find a pulse either. I though we lost him, but a quick diagnosis from the doctors and appropriate medication pulled him through.

So that takes me to the epiphanies a stretch like that brings. We have been married 36 years and as many marriages do, we got to a point of more cohabitation than mingling. I found myself from time to time wondering if there was any connection at all or if we were just role playing and going through the motions. Well, this journey of challenges has brought new focus to us as a couple, to the fact that should he have died I would have been deeply hurt. Before all of this I figured, life would go on. But now, when I'm home alone in my bed, it tugs at my heart. And after Saturday, when he almost died, I find myself thinking about him more and more, wondering what he's doing, looking forward to just sitting with him and telling him I LOVE YOU and the kiss goodbye when it's time to go home.

Forgive me Lord for my unbelief in the love you gave me in Dave...

Potentially Life Changing - April 25, 2014

I am one of those types of people that doesn't call someone unless I have something to say. Not necessarily the best way to be, but there it is. That seems to be true also for keeping my website up to date. I'm afraid that things will get mundane if I come on too often only to repeat the same old stuff. But today is different! I have something to pray about.

First a little history. I have been working since I was 12 years old. At that time I was a babysitter. My next job was at McDonald's. I did that through high school. Since then I worked for a bank, a grocery store, a company that distributes industrial equipment until I found my niche in the health field.

I worked just under 20 years at St. Louis Children's Hospital in their Admitting Department. It was during this tenure I had my children, thus I was a working mother. Not what my dream vision had always been, but being the wife of a Catholic educator, it was a necessity. In 1997, I switched to Saint Louis University in their Medical School. I have had a few different roles. Currently I assist some of the Vascular Surgeons with their patient's test and surgery scheduling. It's a good job, great people to work with.

The past 8 years or so have challenged my life in so many ways...mostly illnesses among my husband, my daughter, Angela and myself. It's stuff that digs deep into one's psyche and turns everything into a potential volcano. However, that is where I am so grateful for my faith! Without my firm foundation in my God, I could not endure these things.

It hasn't been easy, I can still smile and laugh and hope. I have been living in overdrive for several years now and I am prayerfully hopeful that it will ease soon. You see, my employer is offering a Voluntary Early Retirement Program (VERP) and I am eligible for it. I am giddy with the prospects of what it would be like to have all my time to devote to my home and family. But, like so many things in life, we take two steps forward and one step back. I prayed and discerned the pros and cons of doing this and came to the conclusion that this is what I need to do. I sent a message to my bosses expressing my intent and my manager reminded me that there is still the fact that they are limiting the retirees to only 30 people. So that is where I am right now....praying, hoping, scared, excited. And all I can say is "JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU!" I now leave it in His hands and am ready to abide by whatever he brings to me.

Advent Song - November 22, 2013

I am introducing a new song I wrote that is perfect for Advent. You can hear it by using this YouTube: http://youtu.be/TOuSmcMhP2w
Send me a message if you would like to receive a copy of the music.

Checking In - August 9, 2013

Here I am again, lagging in my posts. I think of things when I'm driving in my car and then forget about it when I'm near a computer. I suppose maybe that has something to do with being closer to 60 than 50!

We are in an exciting time in our life's journey. Our daughter, Joanne, is engaged to be married on October 12, just a couple months from now! It is so great to have this wonderful event to look forward to! I sang for a wedding a couple weeks ago in the same church where Joanne and Steve's wedding will be and it was surreal to think about that being us in that same situation! So many blessings!

On the health front, we are all doing well, keeping our heads up and trusting God in His plans for us. Hope this finds all of you doing well.

Blessings and thanksgiving!

Graces in the Trials - February 25, 2013

I realize it's been way too long since I've posted anything here and I do apologize for those people who were wanting to find something new. For those of you who have followed my journal, you know that God has given us a fair amount of challenges to bear in our path with Him. And it is yet another of these challenges that has kept me from writing.

My daughter, Angela, who has borne the brunt of most of the problems we face has been dealt yet another blow. To recap, 7 years ago she was diagnosed with kidney failure and has been on dialysis. In 2011 she had a pseudotumor (excessive fluid) in her brain which left her legally blind. At that time they also noted an actual brain tumor on the right side of her head. We had been watching it and on Labor Day of 2012, she had a couple seizures and tests showed that the tumor had grown. In October, she underwent a biopsy and it was found to be a stage 2 astrocytoma (cancer). She underwent radiation treatments and for now the tumor is stable and the radiation has stopped the current growth, but this type of tumor will come back as an aggressive form of the disease (hopefully years from now) and we will ultimately lose her to it.

My lack of writing is that putting things in words makes it all very real. But in all of it, I am so inspired by her....she is so strong. And I am ever so grateful for my God and His love for all of us. I cannot imagine what this kind of trial would be without faith.

So, I hope to do better with my journal in the future. Asking for prayers as we travel this road.....never alone.

love,
Sally

Why Can't We Just Be Friends? - July 25, 2012

With a big sigh, I begin this post. I, by nature, am not a confrontational person. I like to keep the peace, treat others as I would like to be treated, however, the political climate we find ourselves in these days has me so befuddled.

I am a cradle Catholic, and believe deeply in the teachings of the church. I am also an American citizen and a person who loves people for who they are, where they are.

One of my quandaries that I find myself in, is the "gay marriage" situation. At my core I believe that the designed order for "marriage" is a man and a woman for the purpose of co-creating as God intended.

Having said that, I have a niece who is a lesbian. She has a partner. I see that they truly care and love each other. One thing I know is that these situations are not for me to judge. It is for God to judge. I can't and don't pretend to know the right and wrong. Only God knows that.

We are human....we interpret what we believe to be true and we then enact on these beliefs (right or wrong).

Recently, there has been a huge struggle over this topic where the "Chic-fil-A" company has expressed their beliefs and have fallen under attack by the liberal media and those who don't agree with their beliefs.

This is America! We were built on the beliefs that we can all have our opinion....it's the freedom of speech.

So, where I get messed up is that on one hand I agree with the needs of any 2 people regardless of gender and orientation to be allowed the legal benefits afforded to those who are a married heterosexual couple, whether it be two same gender people, a man and a woman, a parent and adult child....whatever 2 people share in the responsibilities of a household.

But what really hurts my heart is the pain and the hurt on all sides of this situation....people hell bent on hurting each other. Why can't we understand where the other person is coming from and agree to disagree?

Why can't we just be friends?

I Love People! - May 21, 2012

I was just on the phone with a patient (I work in a doctor's office) and just thought, I love people! As long as I can remember I loved interacting with people. I remember before I was even in school, my older siblings would be at school and I would sit out on our front steps and talk to people that would walk by. Every day the mailman would come to our house with his push cart full of mail. On many days I would walk with him down the block and chat while he brought the mail to the other houses. And, not being able to cross the street yet, I would then return home when he reached the end of the block.

As I got older and worked at McDonald's during high school I remember a coworker mentioning something about that I could talk to anybody! Nobody was a stranger!

And now in this setting many years later, I still love to interact with people! I love the challenge where someone will warn me that a particular patient is difficult to talk to and I immediately strive to have them be happy by the end of our conversation.

It's that way with my music as well! I aim to "bring more than just a song" to the people whom God has sent to hear the gifts he has given to me. What a blessing!

Yesterday, I was honored to share in the music ministry in celebrating the 40th anniversary of the ordination to the priesthood, a very holy man, Msgr. John Leykam. Being a part of the amazing choir and able to share my blessings in a couple solo parts, re-engergized me in my ministry.

I have also been blessed recently to once again lead the music at the all school masses for the Holy Trinity Grade School. It's helped me to realize that what I have to give is something special. It's an amazing intermingling of the gifts God has given me and the Holy Spirit working together to bring the love of God to his children. They reciprocate so beautifully with their angelic voices joining me! I am just elated!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Happy Resurrection! - April 11, 2012

I write today with the joy of Easter on my mind. Although the day itself was very different without my mother here, the knowledge of the Resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ brings the joy that it is meant to be.

Life in general has been pretty typical....work, home, church...etc. After the multitude of things that went on in 2011, I accept the reprieve with open arms.

I found myself struggling through the Lenten season, sort of wandering aimlessly. I couldn't commit to any goals of penance to do throughout the season and had been having problems of maintaining a constant prayer life.

It is so easy to allow life and it's mundane activities to pull us away from the truth of what our lives should be. In times when I found myself in a prayer centered place, relying on God to be there with me, I found that peace that only He can provide.

I am rejoicing in the Resurrection, knowing that I am a child of God and forever loved!

Blessings to all tis Easter Season!

Life's Comings and Goings - October 18, 2011

I have been marveling in the miracle of birth the past few days as my dear friends (Matthew and Leah) gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Gregory William! I remember so vividly the feelings of unconditional love that I had after the births of my children. It is so powerful to realize how much you love this tiny new person that you just met! Such a beautiful miracle.

But as with living, there is dying and in September (3 days apart) I lost my mother's brother and sister. They were sick at the time of her death, and finally joined her in the glories of heaven. My aunt was a School Sister of Notre Dame and one of the sisters in her order told my surviving aunt that she must have called my uncle up to the party! I can envision it now the great reunion in the sky!

It does bring a whole new perspective of what is yet to come for us. We are born and we die and hopefully everything in between has meaning!

Never Ending.... - August 25, 2011

I realize it's been a really long stretch of inactivity since my last post and trust me that's ONLY here on my blog.

For those of you who check my sight often, since my last post, my life has been turned inside out.

My mother was having bladder problems and some abnormal findings in her female organs and required surgery. She had a history of heart disease and her cardiologist was concerned about her ability to withstand a long surgery. She went to surgery on July 1st and although they found an aggressive cancer in her uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and pelvic cavity, she came through the surgery well. She had nausea throughout the weekend and complaints of back pains. On Monday, July 4th while my sister was with her, she was told that if she was able to use the bathroom she could go home. After eating about 1/2 of her lunch she began vomiting and aspirated (inhaled) on it. She went into cardiac arrest and although they got her heart beat back she later died after another episode later in the day. There are no words to explain the loss of a mother. In hindsight we all know that she was ready and that now she is reunited with my dad and older brother, but every day there is a pain in my heart longing to speak to her.

The day following her death, my daughter, Angela who has been going through so much of her own was told that she will not regain her lost vision and would forever be legally blind.

My heart and brain just shut down. I could not speak to anyone on the following day trying to comprehend the depth of what had transpired the past 2 days.

But God in His mercy took over for me. He helped things to fall into place so that I could breathe and take one step after another.

As I've said all along, I (we) are not alone. Our loving God is with us in our joys, our fears, our sadness...in all of our needs. I have come to believe that it is a gift to be challenged...to realize that He loves me SO much that He knows my faith will not bend. His love and support are everlasting. Jesus, I trust in you!

Never Alone - June 23, 2011

As mentioned in my last post my daughter, Angela, is suffering from several significant health issues. Just this week, she had a VP shunt put into her head to drain off the excess spinal fluid that has been causing her to lose her eyesight. She will also be facing a brain biopsy for a mass on the right side of her brain unrelated to her spinal fluid issue. She has been on kidney dialysis for almost 4 years. Needless to say, any of these is more than any one person should have to deal with.

My family has become notorious for the challenges we are faced with. As we are going through these things with Angela, my 83 year old mother is facing surgery herself next week for problems with her ovaries and uterus. She is a 2 time breast cancer survivor and the thought of this being another cancer is very real in our minds.

As I spread the word asking for prayers I have had many comment that "God never gives us more than we can handle."

I've thought a LOT about this statement and I have felt confident in His presence in all of this. I know that He is here, walking this journey with us. And it has come to my thinking that it's not that he sees us worthy and gives us more than our share.....it's that He's ALWAYS there, so no matter how much tragedy or struggles come our way, it just doesn't matter...we are never alone.

(on another note....happy birthday, Dad!)

Pulling Together - June 2, 2011

I have found that life, at least in my circle of the world, is always full of challenges, whether it be health issues, money or the lack thereof or whatever. This past month is no exception.

In my last entry I commented on the tornadoes that seem to be hitting all over the midwest USA and how despite the tragedy of them, it brings out the good in people as we rally together to try and bring comfort to those afflicted.

Well, since that time, I have experienced that first hand with a serious illness in my oldest daughter. Now, in most families there are various personality traits of the different members that rub us the wrong way from time to time. But despite the differences and the miscommunications, when it came down to my daughter's illness, each member was there for her. When she needed us, we were there, 100%, no questions asked. It was what we do, because we are family.

But what really struck me most was that this child of mine (actually a 30 year old adult) who tends to follow in her dad's stubborn ways has, in her time of need, reached out, wanting to touch, wanting to hold on to all of us.

Our family has become so close because of this situation. We have seen the need to appreciate the little things and most importantly to appreciate each other for all the good we are.

I pray for healing for my daughter. I pray that her life can become that of a typical 30 year old...not dependent on a kidney dialysis machine, not fearing the need for a brain biopsy and not nearly blind from the pressure in her brain.

Jesus and Mama Mary, please hear my prayer.

He is Risen! - April 29, 2011

Blessings to all in this wonderful season of Easter!

In the midst of struggle and challenges, we are blessed with the reality of LIFE, life in our Lord, Jesus Christ!

On Good Friday, a terrible tornado swept through our city. I live about 1 mile south of the airport that was struck and yet, our house was not disturbed in the least. Having said that, it was scary to think that I live so close to it that people were concerned, making sure we were okay.

Tragedy in all forms brings out the humane side of people. It brings us into communion of our needs and our hopes. The immediate outreach that we are drawn to is amazing. My son was given time off from work because they were caught up and he spent it helping to clear trees from the suburban areas where houses were twisted into rubble.

I am proud of my kids who have always known the importance of giving back, of being called to service and responding. My niece mentioned on Facebook yesterday that she and her husband bought water and took it to the sight for the people working so hard. She was not able to actually work herself because of her two young children, but still found a way to make a difference.

We must remember that we ALL have something in us that we are meant to share. Be open to it and say, "YES, LORD!

Stumbling Along - April 1, 2011

Well we are in the middle of Lent and I find myself to be so very human in my lack of discipline. Not a failure, but so far from where I hoped to be by this point.

I gave up soda and have been successful about 90% of the time. Still plugging away to get that to 100%.

My prayer life is another matter. I find myself making excuses for my lack of time and/or energy to accomplish even basic prayers and reflection. Maybe some of the excuses are legitimate, but does that really count?

I suppose it's like any addiction, whether it be alcohol, food, or even the draw of the secular world around us, always busy, always loud and demanding!

But in truth the only worthwhile addiction is God, is our love and devotion to Him. Now, to get my brain and heart in gear to understand and truly live that! That is my hope.

Continued blessing to all of us during this time of contemplation leading tot he Cross and Resurrection!

Time of Reconciliation - March 7, 2011

This week we embark on the Lenten season. I love the deep tradition that is the Lenten season. The sacrifices of fasting and abstinence, the time of extra prayer and reform to make us worthy to receive the fruits of Jesus' suffering and crucifixion.

This past Saturday I attended a Catholic Conference for Women here in my home archdiocese of St. Louis. I was there with some dear friends and a couple times during the day I found myself saying that I NEED LENT!

Lately, I have found most aspects of my life out of synch. But most importantly I find my prayer life almost non-existent other than the usual weekend Mass and the times I spend planning the music for the 10:30 Sunday Mass in my parish.

It is my intention to pray the rosary daily and usually end up maybe getting in one full decade at the end of the day as I am falling asleep.

So, my only conclusion is that I MUST recenter myself in my faith, in my God who loves me unconditionally, despite my neglect of Him. So, that is my goal for Lent; to really try to understand why I choose the TV over intimate time with Jesus. I need to understand what is from the devil trying to trip me up by the mundane daily activities that occupies my time when I could choose to spend it in prayer with Jesus.

Daunting challenges, but as I hope to pray the Stations of the Cross throughout Lent, I need to appreciate the horrendous abuse Jesus sustained for me (and for all of us) which in comparison to the small sacrifices He asks of me is beyond compare.

Blessings to us all during this time of repentance and growth.

Random Thoughts - February 20, 2011

I've been getting comments on my guestbook from all over the place. Technology still totally overwhelms my brain. I still can't figure out how words and sights and sounds can be transmitted through the air! So when I get a random comment from a total stranger it makes me wonder how they found my sight in the first place.

But, nonetheless, it makes me realize that I need to post more often since there are people out there who care and are touched in some way by what I might have to say. My initial goal will be a weekly update and then maybe trying to share some thoughts of the day more often.

This past week marked what would have been my older brother's 59th birthday. He died in 2009 on the same day as Michael Jackson. He unfortunately suffered an alcoholic addiction most of his adult life and it ultimately took his life.

But this year, I was able to love all the good things about him as in my heart I celebrated his birthday. I remember my Dad always saying about how he was such a happy baby and whenever you walked into the room, he had a big smile on his face. And as we grew up together I remember him being an even tempered guy.

This week also brought us warmer temperatures that are slowly but surely turning the ice/snow mountains into hills. Today, in fact is so warm we were able to have the windows opened coming home from church. Living in the midwest United States, I am fond of the seasonal changes and the diversity they bring. The winters are cold and I thank God for the warmth and blessings of my home and my job that allows us to live in comfort. Then as the winds change and the warmer weather comes, I long for new growth in the trees, flowers in bloom and birds singing. Then summer with it's long, lazy days and thoughts of reconnecting with friends and family during vacations and bbq's. Then as we tire of the scorching summer heat, we are blessed with the cooler weather of autumn. This is my favorite season, watching the leaves fall and dance around the streets and yards. As it cools down, I am once again reminded of my blessings as I see the days get shorter and I find myself once again, being thankful for my home and for the God who makes it all possible.

A Sad Day - January 24, 2011

I just found out that my dog (Skeeter) is gone. She was very sick over the weekend and my son took her to the vet and they said she had kidney and liver cancer and renal failure.

God blesses us with pets, these animals that love us unconditionally. Skeeter was old, 11 1/2 years, but still. Skeeter was a maltepoo, a crossbreed of a maltese/poodle. She was little. When we got her she was so adorably tiny! We called her pocket puppy as she could potentially fit into someone's pocket (granted a big pocket).

She was a great companion who would snuggle up in our lap while we watched tv. She was a licker....giving great massages with her tiny, little tongue.

I loved when I would come home from work and she'd be dancing with excitement to see me. She was also very fond of belly rubs!

Unfortunately I don't have any good pictures because she was black....except for a tiny patch of white under her chin. But to photograph her she was a black furball.

As with anything that God has made, there is a time to live and a time to die. Thank you Lord for giving us Skeeter to make us smile for these 11+ years!

New Year Challenges - January 10, 2011

We are now in week two of 2011. I sit here thinking about the goals I hope to achieve in this new year. In my head it's just a broken record, repeating my same old wishes to do something about my morbid obesity, my struggles with fatigue and the lack of energy to pursue recording of my CD. It all runs through my mind, jumbled up like a ball of string and I become overwhelmed.

I crave simplicity in all things! So thinking about that made me realize that maybe my approach is all wrong. I'm trying to shake a magic wand, say the perfect prayer to make it all be right. But what I really need to do, is to take simple, baby steps. So, last week, I decided that my first task is to (once again) kick the soda habit. I did this once before and felt so much better without it. So, that is my first challenge. What will my next one be? I don't know yet....I haven't finished my first one yet....getting really close, but not quite finished. Then when I feel good for completing that one step, I can move on to something else simple yet monumental!

Blessings to all of you too as you pursue whatever it is in your life that needs tweaking, needs to be transformed to bring you more centered in God's love!

The Season of Advent - December 1, 2010

I discovered a new perspective of Advent this past Sunday as I heard our priest preach about it. He stated that the readings of the first 3 Sundays of Advent are not talking about preparing for the birth of Jesus. What it is, in fact, is a time of our own preparation of Jesus' second coming. It is a time to really look at ourselves and see how good (or bad) we are doing at centering ourselves in our faith, in our God.

I tried to think of things I do that would be pleasing to God, being kind to people, trying to keep up a daily prayer routine. But what it comes down to is that we must forego EVERYTHING. As Father John listed things that draw us away from God and into our human selves, it was like he was talking right at me! To say the least, it was very humbling.

So, I take this time to look very honestly at my commitment, or lack thereof, to God, to His Glory. If he were to make his second coming today, would I be ready? Not a chance!

Please Lord help me in my stubbornness.

Time of Reflection - November 6, 2010

We are in the month of November. This is a month set aside by the church to remember those who have died. In this number are the saints, those holy people who during their lives on earth knew the glory of loving God with their entire being. This is something we must daily strive for....sainthood.

Also in the month of November we remember those who are no longer here with us on earth but crossed our paths and one way or another touched our souls or challenged us in our attempt to be holy. Among these people are the souls that for whatever reason remain in purgatory. We must always remember these souls in our prayers and petitions.

I have encountered issues of struggle in mind and body through illness and not quite a year ago, I went into the Adoration Chapel and asked our Lord just how I was to use this pain and suffering. In no uncertain terms He said, "offer them for the souls in purgatory."

So, I try to do that... accept my pains patiently in order that those is purgatory may be set free. Trust me, this is not easy. I am so human! But particularly this month I pray harder to do as God asks of me.

Understanding the call - September 12, 2010

Do you ever stop to wonder what our call is in God's plan for us? This comes to mind for me today because I received news this morning that a young woman in our parish has been told she has 3 months to live.

I met Gloria a few years ago as I met with her fiance, Jim and her family to discuss the music for their marriage ceremony. A few days before that meeting, she was told she had cancer in a bone in her leg. After Mass, Fr. John gathered us all into the Adoration Chapel to pray together asking for intercession on her behalf.

A few months later they were married in a beautiful ceremony celebrating them in their oneness. I have yet to see a more beautiful ceremony!

As the months and years went on, Jim and Gloria would be challenged with the cross of her cancer....challenging it head on with every available treatment. But, what means the most to me about their journey is their devotion to each other and most importantly, their trust in God's plan. Their witness to their unconditional love for Jesus is very powerful.

It makes me ponder on the meaning of God's plan in our crosses. I feel that if we love Him with our whole beings then we are blessed to be given and to humbly suffer through our crosses. I would like to think that these are stepping stones to our eternal salvation.

So, today I offer all I am to God on behalf of Gloria in her remaining days, that our Blessed Mother shelter her in her arms and that Jesus reciprocate His love to her with peace. May we all be aware of our place in God's plan and humbly accept the graces that it brings.

Random Blessings - July 26, 2010

I just completed a wonderful week full of multiple blessings. Last week our parish held it's annual Vacation Bible School with the little kids, preschool through 6th grade. I provided the music that corresponded with the program they were doing. I sang with the kids before they went to their activities and then ended each evening with song. It was wonderful to see as they progressed each day with more confidence and energy. Each day they participated more and more. One particular song had a line about dancing, so each night I invited a few of the kids to come up and be my dancers! For the most part I was focused on my music but by the last night I was comfortable enough to catch a glance or two of them dancing. There were 2 of our littlest kids dancing and one of them had stayed with her mother through the week and she volunteered to come and join the others and her mom was pleasantly surprised at what appeared to be a milestone for this little one. Then another little girl I caught waving to her mom and dad sitting in the back and their smiles as they waved back. Ah, the beauty and innocence of the little ones!

Then having wrapped up the week of VBS, I decided to spend Saturday at the healing retreat at Our Sorrowful Mother's Ministry in Vandalia, Illinois with a friend of mine. I wasn't sure of the topic and if it was something I would necessarily relate to, but I enjoy the people there and went with that in mind. Well, the day started with Mass and it started with a bang as I had words of direction coming at me even from the homily! And the morning got even better, addressing directly to me on issues I had been pondering. Giving me the exact answers to some of my confusion. Wow, God is amazing!

And I have to thank "Mama" Mary, our Blessed Mother and Jesus for getting us home safely through the terrible storm!

Taking Things For Granted - June 19, 2010

Recently I have been going to a weekly Women's Prayer group and this week one woman talked about her family struggles. She has problems with an abusive father and siblings that take his side over hers.

This made me think of how blessed I have been my whole life to have been a part of a loving family. Having been in a positive family environment and surrounded by other families that were the same, I didn't think about just what a blessing that circumstance was and is.

I had the opportunity to revisit my childhood home last weekend during an open house. The current owners are selling it and as I walked through the familiar rooms, I was drawn back to the wonderful memories of my life in that house.

And as I reflected on the good memories, I also remembered the sad ones...the primary being that my father passed away in that house after struggles of prostate cancer in 2001.

This week in particular is very hard. It goes unsaid that tomorrow, being Father's Day, I remember my dad...my soul mate. And then on Wednesday, June 23rd I will remember what would have been his 84th birthday.

I follow that with Saturday, June 26th, with the memory of my brother, Bill who passed away one year ago on that day.

I miss them so much....and can only hope that I didn't take them for granted too much.

I love you Dad and Bill!
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