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Sally Bolderson: Journal

Every Moment is a Gift - March 18, 2009

There is a woman who was in St. William's parish for many years who served as our Music Director as well as teaching 7th and 8th grade in the school. My oldest daughter was blessed to have her for classes both years and I've been blessed by sharing musical gifts with her.

Well, I received an email today stating that she is gravely ill with a Group A infection that appears to be taking over her muscles and skin. It's very devastating. She is only 57 years old and it came on suddenly like a flu.

What I want to bring out about this is firstly, WE MUST PRAY, and secondly, we must live every moment to the fullest, being kind and merciful......for each moment is a gift.

Blessing of the Cross - March 14, 2009

One would say that our family is cursed......but I say we are blessed beyond measure.

I recently found out that among other problems in my spine I have a large mass on the bottom portion of my spine above the tailbone.

After consultation with a neurosurgeon (spine specialist) at Saint Louis University Hospital, I will need surgery to remove this mass.

I've spent the last 2 weeks in deep prayer feeling like Jesus in agony in the garden asking that "if this cup could pass me by, but not as I will it, but as you will it."

So, during this amazing, discerning time of Lent I find myself in a place to join Jesus in his Cross as I go through the anxiety of this problem along with surgery which just happens to fall on Tuesday of Holy Week. What a better way to spend this most amazing week in the whole Church calendar year than to offer up this cross with Jesus as we recall the depth that he suffered on His cross for us.

I know that God is holding my hand and that all of the prayers that are and will continue to be lifted up for me will sustain me through this challenging time.

Thank you Jesus for always being at my side!

An Epiphany - March 2, 2009

One of my goals this Lent is to attend daily Mass. So, as I went to kneel down before the morning Mass on Friday, I started to pray this prayer in my head......

"Bless us O Lord and these thy gifts which we are about to receive, from thy bounty through Christ Our Lord. Amen."

And I thought "WOW" that prayer is perfect! I had never thought of it that way, but there it was the perfect prayer to lead into the Great Feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus; the gift given to us by Jesus over and over again. We should never forget the magnitude of His gifts, His Flesh and Blood sacrificed on the altar, on the cross, for us.

God is Good! - February 26, 2009

I had the day off today and my daughter, Joanne and I did some running and I wanted to stop by the Lane Bryant store to try on pants. Since I've lost just about 50 pounds now, my current pants are kinda like clown pants.

I had gotten to a point where I was unable to shop at Lane Bryant because I was bigger than their largest size. I truly did not know what to expect. Well, what I found out was truly a gift from God. Not only was I able to fit into their pants, but their largest sizes were too big!

This weight loss - get healthy process that I started in early November has been a prayerful journey. It's been a journey of understanding that my body is a wonderful, beautiful gift from God, an awesome gift of life.

I have also come to realize (and this has been very humbling) that God also blesses us with freedom of choice and I chose addiction to food over His love. I chose to be a glutton and despite all of the known risk factors for being a woman of 330 pounds I continued to be lured into these bad behaviors.

But it is again by God's grace that I am working on this weakness. My Lenten resolution is to be even more mindful of my food choices and those things that trigger bad choices. It's not easy, but neither was Jesus' tortuous crucifixion. He pleaded with his Father to please let this cup pass from him, but not his will but God's will be done. And I too in this very small way need to follow God's will.

Back to Basics - February 11, 2009

My friend Matthew and I at some point made a pact to support each other in our attempts to become our healthiest selves. We share ideas of good nutrition, spur each other on to get to the gym for exercise.

Today Matthew mentioned that while at the deli over the weekend he asked the worker which was the healthiest meat and he said that the processed meats are NOT the best, rather the rotisserie chickens prepared in the store and sliced is the best. It was a bit more expensive but its benefits justified the cost.

It made me think that all food in its purest form as God created it, is the best for us.

And that stands true with us as humans made in God's image as well. He created us with all of the intricate details that work together to sustain us.

All we need to do is to bring ourselves to our most basic selves, with only one need, God as our center. We just need to get back to the basics and allow Him to lead us, guide us, cheer us on. He loves us with immeasurable love and despite all of our attempts to make ourselves better outside of him, it doesn't work. If you allow Him to be your center and devote all of your actions to Him, you will always succeed.

Graces of Memories - February 1, 2009

This week brought snow to our region. And for some reason, it also brought to mind my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law (Billie) was a wonderful, kind hearted, hard working woman.

What started these thoughts was the snow. After we were first married, Dave and I only had one car and both worked. My mother in law offered to have me take her to work and then I drove her car to my work and reversed the process on the way back home. On snowy days, we had a "snow route" which meant we took a slower ride through the neighborhoods rather than taking the highways. It was a special time for the 2 of us to get to know each other and love each other.

It then had me smiling at the memories of her in my life. My relationship with my mother-in-law was special. Unlike the stereotypes of mothers-in-law, she was never intrusive and was always giving.

Our greatest gift to her was the birth of our daughters (especially Angela) who was an angel in her eyes. She loved her so dearly. My last memory of "Mama" was in December of 1982 before she died that year on Christmas Eve. Our daughter JoAnne was born on November 13th that year. Mom was in the hospital (she was chronically ill with emphysema) and we brought the girls to visit on Sunday and she sat in her bed with JoAnne laying on the bed in front of her and just marveled at this 2nd miracle, counting her toes and fingers and loving her. As we left, Angela for the first time said "bye bye Mama". It brought tears to her eyes as she realized that Angela really knew who she was. Angela was 18 months old.

Over the years there have been very tangible connections with her. One particular Christmas, I was working 10 hour days at work with 3 little children at home and I was to host Dave brothers (and their children) for Christmas dinner and as I was at work on Christmas Eve I just felt extremely overwhelmed. I knew it was important for Dave to stay connected with his brothers and our house was the logical place to do this. As I was sitting at work stressing out over all that needed to be done I got word that Dave's one brother who is a priest out of town wouldn't be making the trip into St. Louis after all and then his other brother's wife called and said that they were all sick with the flu. And as if she was right next to me, I heard Mom say, "It's okay Sal, I know you meant well, but you don't need to do this."

There were other times when I missed her so much and felt her smiling on me.

The best connection of all, however, was the significance of my son's birth. During my pregnancy as we were deciding on names, Dave asked if I minded if we named him after his dad if he were a boy which I totally agreed as his dad had died in 1974 and was very special as well. As it happened, JD was a BOY and not only did we name him John Daniel III (Dave's priest brother is John Daniel, Jr.), but he was born on All Saints Day which just HAPPENS to be Mom's birthday!

So you see there is no doubt in my mind of the connection between heaven and earth! It's so tangible in my life!

Contemplation on Life - January 22, 2009

I start this by saying that I am not a political person. My head reels to think of the immense responsibility that a person in political office has to endure. I can't bring myself to delve into the details of the political state of affairs and the issues except for ONE and that is LIFE! Over the past few years, I have grown in the knowledge that we as humans must rely on God to provide for our needs. And in that mindset, I know in the deepest part of my heart that God will take care of us. And one thing that God has done for us is to give us the promise of Life through Jesus' death and resurrection.

So, as I find out about more and more Catholic persons (friends and otherwise) who chose their personal issues over the issues of God by electing President Obama, it breaks my heart. I had a little debate yesterday with someone (a professed Catholic) on Facebook over the pros and cons of voting for President Obama in regards to the issues of LIFE. And that person's viewpoint was that on the total life issues (death sentence, euthanasia, war, etc.) that President Obama was "for" LIFE in more situations than McCain (according to their research).

So, that made me think. When it comes to CHOICE and the freedom therein, whose CHOICE are we talkng about? The CHOICE of the person who had a means of making that decision for themselves or the unborn baby, the unborn human, who has no means of saying for themselves whether they want to live or die? They didn't ask to be conceived, but they were and in that fact, they should be allowed to be born. In the case of all of the above life issues these are situations that are made by adults and if the life of an unborn child is the "consequence" then maybe they should have thought of that before participating in the act that produced the child in the first place.

And THAT is exactly where the focus should be, in educating persons in their ability to not be selfish in their desires... to pursue a life of chastity. I can hear it now about the situations of incest and rape and how the consequence is not the woman's, but is it the baby's? I feel that promoting the FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act) just encourages an already badly broken society that puts all aspects of LIFE in jeopardy whether it be a person dealing drugs who doesn't care about the person on the other end and their quality of life or the persons who are victims of random gun fire because of persons who just don't care about themselves much less someone else. It's a sad, sad cycle.....and I don't know any answer but to come back to the one being that can make it right......GOD. Only God has the means to support us in our needs.

So, my plea today is for those persons who profess to be "Prolife Obama Supporters" as my friend in the debate yesterday said he was, then you're next step is to do what you must know as being "Prolife" is right and that is to appeal to President Obama that his position on the "Freedom of Choice Act" is wrong. That's what our "Freedom of Speech" is all about. Challenge him to see the extreme consequences of allowing such an act to happen. I believe that more people than not who voted him into office would agree that it was other issues that he has on his agenda that made them chose him to lead our country other than FOCA. May God be with us in this troubling time we exist in.

Changes - January 16, 2009

I began this new year with excitement of great things to come with my health as I continue to drop a couple pounds each week.

Also in the first weekend of the year, I led the music at the Sorrowful Mother's Ministry retreat( It was a nice, initimate setting led by Fr. Patrick Greenough and he gave me some wonderful insights to our Blessed Mother Mary.

I have been struggling with the world in general, in particular the US with the upcoming inauguration of a new president. I am trying to find out within myself how I present my faith and how it impacts the world I live in. I feel this need to be more of an example of what I truly from the deepest part of my heart believe...God wants us to be one with Him. It's hard, but I feel that we need to let the past be in the past, and not worry about tomorrow and to live with God in the now....because in truth, the now is all we are guaranteed.

I feel that God has me in a transition of sorts of becoming stronger in my spirituality to a more interior understanding of Him in the Trinity and their connection to Mary.

The retreat brought about a renewed desire to start writing songs again, however, life and time haven't allowed me the opportunity to really do it, but it will happen in God's time. I will concentrate on that when God is finished with the tasks at hand.

Be my center, O Lord.

Another Year Gone By - December 31, 2008

I sit here at 12:28 a.m. on January 1, 2009, wondering where did 2008 go?

As I try to think back to this time last year, it's amazing that it's really been a year gone by already. As we entered January Dave was in the hospital, I was trying to wind down from the busy Christmas season of music that tends to overwhelm most music ministers (especially those in a parish setting).

My debut CD was in the final days of production and ready to ship any moment. I wasn't feeling well, but nothing earth shattering (or so I thought) and on Friday, January 4th, I stayed home from work for a couple of reasons, to wait for the delivery of my 1000 copies of my CD and to rest.

By the next Monday, I was having a CT scan and on Tuesday right after Dave went home, I went into the hospital . After 2 hospital stays of over a week and a couple surgeries, I was diagnosed with an intra-abdominal abscess of the lower right quadrant which cultured out as e-coli. It took me 2 months off work to get to a place of some type of normalcy, although in truth it was several months before I could really grasp the reality of my CD and try to pray about where God was leading me with it.

I traveled to Italy with my husband and 20 high school students and although it was terribly hot, I enjoyed with a new spirituality the blessings and roots of our Catholic faith. I particularly enjoyed Assisi and it's beauty and holiness.

Beyond that I distributed about 600 of my cd's, most of them gifted to others because I was blessed with blessings of others to have it completed in the first place and I have been moving the blessings forward.

In November, my daughter and I began a nutritional cleansing program. My main reason for pursuing this was my realization that I have misused the gift of life that God has given me by my addiction to food. I love the gifts of music he has given me and as I struggled to regain my health from January, I realized I had to face the truth and do all possible to get healthy so that I can continue to be God's instrument. The fact that I could have died from the illness I had made me know that God isn't done with me yet. As of today I have lost just under 30 pounds!

I look forward to 2009 with a couple of retreats and a CAM Jam to share these gifts along with my continued ministry at my home parish Holy Trinity.

God bless all who read this for a blessed and grace filled 2009. My love and prayers are with you!

A Christmas Miracle - December 23, 2008

I have a co-worker who is a Christian (I'm not sure what denomination) but we share our love of Jesus and talk about our individual experiences of God in our lives. It's a unique friendship in the work place.

Yesterday, I noticed she wasn't at work and this morning she came to my desk and told me she totaled her car Friday night. I asked her how it happened and as the story unfolded I became more and more amazed at the Christmas miracle she received.

It was late Friday night and she fell asleep while driving and subsequently drove threw a guard rail and down an embankment and landed upside down in a creek. There was just enough water that she could have drowned.

But, as she sat there before me telling me this story with only a few bruises to show for it, I knew that God has other plans for her. Although she was right next to a fire department, they did not hear her crash. It was a woman in a 2nd story apartment across the street who heard a noise and looked out to see her car upside down in the creek. She hurried out calling 911, talking to my friend, keeping her calm until help arrived. It's like stories on TV, except this was real.

The firemen arrived not knowing what to expect. They had to cut her from her seat belt. My friend says that she just constantly prayed and God answered her prayers.

Today, she counts her blessings even more than she already did, knowing that she is not alone. One thing she mentioned was that if it were not for this guardian angel, she most likely would have perished since her car could not be seen from the road. It made her realize that we must not be afraid to be angels for others in need, whatever the circumstance. There cannot be wrong in doing good.

Update - One Month - December 11, 2008

Well, I've made it to the one month mark and I'm pleased to report a loss of 19.4 pounds! It has been a revelation of the truth of just HOW MUCH I was eating before. Keeping an eye on calories and nutrition has been very interesting. Alhough the holidays and all of the eating that goes with them have been challenging, each day is a new start and I have tried to be diligent in my efforts to still keep the calories in check.

My daughter, Joanne and I work out at least 3 days a week at Curves for Women and that helps a lot too. I have more energy and just feel better about myself all around.

My immediate goal is to try to maintain at least some type of loss over the next 2 weeks through the high point of the Christmas Holiday. Your prayers are so helpful! Thank you and may you and your family be blessed throughout this season and the new year!

Advent Blessings - December 4, 2008

Last night at Holy Trinity, we had an "Advent Prayer Service" which included choirs from our parish along with a neighboring parish, All Souls. It was a night of scripture and music to reflect on the true meaning of the Advent season which ultimately leads to the awesome reality of the birth of our blessed, Lord, Jesus on Christmas day.

I was approached a few months ago by a parishioner who suggested that we contact neighboring Catholic parishes and combine our efforts on this project and although not all could participate, I know that it was God's plan for it to be JUST how it was, blessed!

I set into motion the details of what would be read and sung during this service and made the contacts to the gifted people in my personal world who made it all wonderful.

I will never know the total impact of the evening, where it takes the hearts of those who participated and those who came to pray with us, but I do know that it was by the mercy of God's grace that it happened at all and in those graces, it's all good!

Update - one week - November 17, 2008

Well, it's been a week since I began my "new life" and I must say that it's been rewarding. As I worked my way through each day, counting my calories and finding that I REALLY, REALLY like healthy food, I felt glad to have begun this journey.

There have been a few revelations that I've realized during the days leading up to the new eating and from the days of working with it.

One, is that food is nothing more than an essential means of keeping ourselves more than that! It's not a reward, it's not a stress reliever, it's just food. And I know that I idolized it before, used it anyway I could trying to justify it one way or another to keep from dwelling on the horrible things my abuse was doing to myself. But now, I feel different. I feel different because, I know that God has led me to this point and that God is in my corner.

As I went through the week and had moments of hunger it made me think of the hundreds of thousands of people who live in constant hunger with no hope of relief in sight. Lord, forgive me for taking so much for granted.

But the bottom line, is that today is one week. This is weigh and measure day. And I lost 9.6 pounds! Thank you, Lord for the strength and knowledge to do this right! Be with me!

Embarking on a New Life - November 7, 2008

I am writing this to ask for your prayers as I embark on a new life. As anyone who has ever seen me knows, I am what is clinically known as "morbidly obese." In other words, I have misused the temple God has given me and allowed myself to value food more than God.

I've been praying hard about this fact over the past few months. About a month ago, my friend, Matthew invited me to a prayer service one evening. I went with the intent to pray for guidance on this attempt to improve my "temple." At the end of the prayer time I felt at peace. I didn't get any lightening bolt revelations, but I knew that I wasn't alone.

I spoke to Matthew about it and he invited a deacon over to tell me his story. As the "good deacon" began talking about his 100+ pound weight loss, I was intrigued at his words. They made total sense to me and the more he spoke, the more I knew that this was God's solution to my prayers.

Now, nothing comes without sacrifice and I wouldn't want it any other way. My daughter, Joanne and I went to a meeting about this "nutritional cleansing" program and we were both elated at the possibilities. It's pricey (at least for our budgets) but some things just have to be a priority. So we commited to the plan.

Last weekend, I went to the OSMM Healing Retreat Conference with the intent to focus on prayer of strength for this new challenge I was about to undertake. Again, there was a healing prayer service and again, I felt peace but nothing major.

But Sunday morning, an angel named Hildegard came. Hildegard is a heavy set lady who sat 2 rows ahead of me throughout the weekend. But on Sunday, she told the person she was speaking with that she needed to speak with me. I was totally surprised and had no idea what this would be about. But as she turned a chair around to sit and face me, she lovingly said, "you need to lose weight." To which I replied, "that's why I'm here!!!" As we spoke I KNEW without a doubt that God was telling me through this angel that I am on the right track.

So beginning this Sunday, November 9th, I will begin to reshape my being, so that I can serve my God for many years to come. I will be making a section in my photo page of my progress so check back to see how I'm doing.

Thank you, Lord for all your blessings to me!

A Hero - October 24, 2008

I lost a friend today. Her name was Dee. My relationship with Dee was unique. I met Dee because she attended the 10:30 Mass every Sunday with her 2 daughters and her mother. I saw as she valiantly struggled with the thros of breast cancer. I watched as she lost her hair, got weaker, then grew her hair back and got stronger..... I only witnessed this for a couple of years, but as I began talking with her and most recently began to know about her from friends that were much closer to her for a longer time, I grew to understand just how amazing this woman was.

You see, she was first diagnosed with breast cancer 11 years ago! In the time I knew her she attacked each new onset of her cancer throughout her body aggressively with optimism.

I can see the role model she has been for her daughters, Kaleigh and Khristen. They are both strong young ladies.

Although, I didn't know personal details about Dee, I knew she was a prayerful, wonderful person. I went to visit with her earlier this week and witnessed just how much Dee's life touched others as her house was full of persons there just for her.

Bless you Dee for being a wonderful presence in my life.


Giving It All to God - September 25, 2008

I don't know quite where to begin with this thought process, but it's something I feel compelled to say.

We all have our "public" lives and our "personal" lives. We are all vulnerable. I shared with a friend today some parts of my life that are very out of control. Specifically, they are my weight and my inability to do what I know is right for my well being. The second is my need to avoid confrontation and thereby not taking on the responsibility to confront my family about the needs of our household, which has left it in a terrible state to the point of being an unhealthy environment to live in.

I've tried to skirt around the issues in confession, but then I leave and do the same thing. So now, I'm like, "what's the point of going again if I can't even get it right when I leave?"

As I revealed some of these things to my friend, I realized that my music, which is an enormous grace in my life, is a blessing because I give it all to God!

So, I guess my hope is that by putting this in writing in a somewhat public venue, I can maybe take that step to do right by these crosses that keep me from giving my total self to Him. Please pray for me.

Teamwork - September 17, 2008

This past week our parish (Holy Trinity) held our annual Family Festival. It was a huge undertaking with rides and games and music and food and so much more. Pulling something like this together is a long, tedious and backbreaking task, but when you take a beautiful faith community and so many bring their parts of that body together to do their part, it becomes a labor of love.

The forecast all week was for substantial rain coming up from the south and the hurricanes that were devastating so many down there. I heard so many people say they were praying for decent weather for the festival since it not only gave us an opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends, it also serves as a key fundraiser to offset some of the many costs of running a parish; stewardship in action. Well, God heard our prayers and kept the rain away the entire time of the festival. On Friday night I saw Fr. John and he mentioned that a 2nd grader came to him and told him that he had been praying really hard for good weather and it was "SUNNY" when he came to the festival! Even the little ones know the power of prayer and God in our lives.

What really brought together this thought of "teamwork", however, was when I entered the "Quilt Raffle" to see about winning one of the beautiful quilts that ladies of our parish worked so lovingly on. Well, I not only won one quilt, but I won TWO! As I spoke with a couple of the ladies who had helped to hand-sew these quilts, I thought about the time and love that it takes to make those 10's of thousands of stitches on one single quilt. Hours and hours of sewing, spending time together, working on their little corner of the quilt until at last it is complete and is a beautiful work of art.

It's that kind of teamwork, coming together to share what we have been given to bless someone else's life. Search your heart to see how you can be a part of someone else's blessings. We are coming up on "Stewardship Sunday" and it's that time to get the right perspective on being one in Jesus Christ. Don't let the chance slip away to enjoy the fruits of giving.

Uncle Bud - August 17, 2008

My Uncle Bud passed away yesterday. He was 84 years old and lived in Utah. Most of his adult life, he lived in California, so whenever he made the trip to St. Louis, it was always a treat.

I grew up one parallel block from my grandparents, my Dad's parents. So when my Uncle Bud came to town, we spent a lot of time there.

Over the years, memories get jumbled up in one's head about the details, but what is most vivid to me about Uncle Bud, was his zest for life. He was always laughing. I just felt good when I was in his company.

I spoke with my Aunt Mary who will be traveling to Utah for the funeral services. It seems that it will not be a church funeral, just a service at the funeral home.

That tugs at my heart strings, since my Catholic faith is so dear to my heart. I wonder what he thought as he listened to my CD, that drew from my love of my God and my faith. I hope it made him remember his roots....

Uncle Bud was a good man and I pray that God will see that goodness and let him into that he can be with his parents and his brothers, my dad and my Uncle Jim.

In closing, I just say, "I love you, Uncle Bud"....thanks for the memories!


For Better or For Worse - August 5, 2008

Today is is special because today Dave and I celebrate 30 years of marriage. It seems like yesterday and at the same time seems like forever, "for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health." We've seen it all and here we are 30 years and together still.

That's not something to take lightly. As I remember back to the time we were married and so many of our friends were doing the same and I look now and more are divorced now than not . That saddens me.

One thing I tell young people today when they are contemplating a lifelong journey together is to picture themselves growing old together. Can they envision themselves old and gray, feebly walking, maybe hand in hand, maybe not, but nonetheless together?

Over this summer Dave and I chaperoned 18 high school students on a trip to Italy. And they commented on how different we were, but that we were both funny! That made me glad, because we ARE different, we ARE our individual selves, yet we compliment each other.

I believe that it takes a lot to make a marriage last, to make it survive the bumps and mountains that inevitably come....and go. It is with a strong sense of God in our lives and a sense of humor and forgiveness that I believe we are here today celebrating 30 years of marriage.....may we be blessed with many more.

Bring the Children to Him - July 9, 2008

I love praying! And probably my most favorite place to pray is the Carmelite Monastery. It's a beautiful chapel with Jesus exposed every day. I try to make a weekly visit to the chapel to pray and spend some quiet time with Jesus.

This particular prayer place holds special meaning to me because my dad brought me there when I was little. Every Sunday we would go to 8:00 a.m. mass in our parish, come home for breakfast and after breakfast he would go to the Carmelite Monastery to pray. Many times I went with him. I can still recall the beauty then that I so enjoy now. The power in Jesus' presence right there (although I'm sure I didn't comprehend all of that when I was younger).

This comes to mind today because as I sat and prayed today, a father and his 2 daughters came in to pray. I watched as each of the girls went to the various altars and solemnly knelt and prayed. They looked to be about 5 and 9 years old. And the thought ran through my head applauding that dad for bringing his children to Jesus in this special way.

Italy Trip - July 4, 2008

Well, the much anticipated Italy trip has come and gone. So much to see and absorb. The trip was great despite the 90 degree weather.

The teens we were chaperoning were AWESOME! I would travel with them any day!

And the adult group mostly from Louisiana (and 2 from Florida and 1 from Nashville) were great as well.

We visited Venice, Florence, Assisi, Sorrento, Tiarminia (a part of Sicily), Capri, Naples, Pompei and Rome.

My favorite by far was Assisi. I found it to be a peaceful, holy presence. Different from the other cities, it's "attractions" were based on the Basilicas of Sts. Francis and Claire. I only wish we had more time there. As it was, we only spent the afternoon and overnight and then left the following morning.

As far as natural beauty, it had to be Sorrento. The beautiful mountains and sea were breathtaking.

Check under the "Photos" section for some of the almost 400 pictures I took. I hope you enjoy them!

My Crazy Life - June 10, 2008

I find myself more times than not shaking my head thinking, "here we go again". It's almost comical the things that go awry in my family. Take this past week for example. I came home Monday evening from our weekly choir practice only to take Dave to the emergency room to get his critically high potassium level down. He spent the night there. My daughter Angela on Tuesday had to go to the hospital to have a test run on her dialysis access since the nurses said it was flowing too slow. Wednesday started out with a funeral mass for the mother of a co-worker of mine and work all day and topped it off with XLT in the evening (which I love!) I was pretty tired by the end of the day. Then we had a couple days rest when my daughter, Joanne had her car vandalized. They put red paint across the top from back to front, keyed the entire driver's side and put sugar in the gas tank. How can anyone think that's amusing? Then, yesterday was another day that I'm not at liberty to discuss right now, but trust me the activities of yesterday are just the cherry on the top.

So, you might ask how is it that I can sit here and, albeit sarcastically, joke about these frustrations in my life? And the answer is because I am blessed! I am blessed because Jesus loves me and I love Him! I love reading books about the saints and one common thread seems to be that there is strength in suffering; not only for oneself, but also in how we deal with our suffering. If we unite our suffering with Jesus on the cross, it becomes this amazing grace that actually helps other souls! It is in this knowledge that I can see the awesome blessings I have in these challenges in my life and I try to accept the crosses and handle them with love and prayer, God's amazing gifts to us.

Holy Trinity Class of 2008 - May 21, 2008

I sit here today wondering what the 8th graders from Holy Trinity School are doing today, for you see, tonight they graduate! They move on to the next chapter in their lives. I remember my 8th grade graduation in the wonderful year of 1970! I remember that summer going through changes, not a girl, not a woman, somewhere in the middle all mixed up together. I see the wonderful energy of this year's class of '08 and marvel at their maturity. It's been a blessing for me to get to know so many of these students through the choir, especially this year as they grew in confidence.

I pray that God continues to bless these great young ladies and young men. I pray that they always know that God is there with them and for them! Be a light for all to see!

Heroism - May 5, 2008

I knew since my husband and I were dating that his dad was an extraordinary man. He had a wonderful smile, and loving personality. He died way too young at the age of 55, but in the short time I knew him, I grew to love him.

Last summer, my husband, Dave and his brother John Jr. (Danny) were fortunate to go to the anniversary events in France where his dad was a war hero for his part in saving a town there. It brought to light the depth of the character of this man, my father-in-law. As you read the following text for which he received the Distinguished Service Cross, you will also understand.

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to John D. Bolderson (37083951), Private First Class, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with Company A, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, in action against enemy forces on 6 June 1944, in France. Private First Class Bolderson was stationed at the end of a bridge over the Merderet River as a rocketeer to repel attacks by enemy troops who controlled the other end of the bridge. This position was subject to incessant enemy rifle, machine gun, mortar and artillery fire. After an artillery preparation, the enemy sent an assault force supported by three tanks over the bridge. Though part of the troops withdrew, Private First Class Bolderson remained at his position until the enemy tanks approached within thirty yards. In spite of the intense fire, Private First Class Bolderson rose from his position and, aided by the assistant gunner, fired rockets into the three tanks. Private First class Bolderson remained with his gun and fired it until it was pierced by enemy machine gun fire and put out of action. Private First Class Bolderson's intrepid actions, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 82d Airborne Division, and the United States Army.
Headquarters, First U.S. Army, General Orders No. 31 (July 1, 1944)
Home Town: Missouri

This brings me to another important detail of my in-laws. They grew up in southern Missouri in West Plains, MO in the "bible belt." But it was when they moved to St. Louis they found themselves (and their 3 boys) desperate for food and housing. They tried several places and it was a Catholic church that took care of them. It was that giving that prompted them to convert to Catholicism. And they were devoted to their decision, sacrificing to send their 3 boys to Catholic schools, setting the example for them.

Today, one of their sons is a priest in the Kansas City diocese and another is the Permanent Deacon at Holy Trinity Parish, my husband, Dave.

We just never know what our journey will be. I pray for all of our service men and women who today continue to protect our liberties. It's that depth of love for our family, our country and most importantly our God, that makes us heroes.

We Finally Meet - April 23, 2008

David Smith of Icon Music Studios was the producer / master of my CD project. I recorded my vocals in St. Louis with Charlie Dent of the Isolation Chamber Studio and we sent the master copy to David who worked his gifts and added everything else you hear on the CD including all instrument tracks and added harmonies by he and his wife, Teresa.

This past Sunday he was in town with Joel Stein to perform at the first annual "Pure Fashion Show" and I was able to actually meet him in person!

Thanks so much Dave for the wonderful things you did for my CD! It was so great to meet you. Check out pics in my PHOTO section.
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