Sunday, December 19, 2010

Join My Facebook Page: One Thing I Learned At Mass #Catholic

I started my first Facebook "Like" page. (Formerly known as "fan" pages.) It's called "One Thing I Learned At Mass." From my page description:
This page was inspired by a CD I recently heard, "Seven Pillars of Catholic Spirituality" by Matthew Kelly. (Lighthouse Catholic Media) During his talk, he suggested that Catholics purchase a journal, and after attending their weekly Mass obligation, they jot down the one thing they learned during Mass, with the goal of implementing it in their lives.

I really liked the idea. However, I'm not that great keeping a written journal. I thought it might be more interesting to have a community where we shared with one another the "one thing" we learned and what how we intended to focus on it. Along the way, I hope we can encourage each other and receive inspiration.

When I attended a Presbyterian church and non-denominational churches, I would bring my Bible and a notebook. I'd take notes during the sermon and often look up and meditate upon the Scripture verses throughout the week.

After I heard Matthew Kelly's suggestion of purchasing a journal to keep the "one thing" I learned during Mass, and then focused on implementing that one thing in my life, I was inspired. I thought it was a fabulous idea. He asked, "How would our world changed if the millions of Catholics started doing this?" I got excited as I thought about the implications.

So, the "Like" button is at the top right and I hope you join and contribute. I think it will be interesting to see what others post as their "one thing" and I hope it will encourage us all.

Pass it along and I would be very grateful if you, my fellow Catholic bloggers, would post it on your page. Thank you!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Virtual Panoramic View of the Sistine Chapel #Catholic

A friend sent me this a few months ago. I am so thrilled the Vatican has started to use technology to share its gorgeous art with the world. I had the privilege of visiting the Vatican in 1985, although I wish I could say it was a spiritual pilgrimage. However, even as a tourist, one cannot help but marvel at the architectural genius of one of the greatest spiritual sites in the world. I was amazed by St. Peter's Basilica and other sites, such as the museum and the catacombs.


Use your arrow buttons on the keyboard to move around to the side and up. The "zoom" button is at the bottom left of the page.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Update on Prayer Request: Fantastic News!

I am tired, but I felt that I had to update our situation because I am still on "cloud nine."

We had a miracle.

From my last post: A tumor was found in my husband's colon, discovered by an urgent colonoscopy. Mickey had some rectal bleeding that came suddenly and led to the emergency room. After the colonoscopy, tests were ordered; CAT scan, X-ray, bone scan. Thankfully, all came back negative regarding any metastasizing. Surgery was scheduled to remove part of Mickey's colon where the tumor resided. It went well and the surgeon also added that the lymph nodes were taken to be tested. My elation at the negative results from the other tests evaporated as I thought about the lymphatic system. What would we find?

The worst part is waiting... The surgery was Wednesday. It was only today, mid-morning when we found out the pathology of the tumor. It was a "baby" tumor, halfway between being a benign polyp and part of it turning into malignancy. It was caught early and all of it was removed, with no signs of other cancer cells being found in Mickey's system. And, the lymph nodes were clear.

I stayed overnight at the hospital, sleeping in one of those not-quite-comfortable chairs, next to Mickey's bed. I wanted to be there first thing in the morning for whatever news the doctors would give. I awoke at 4:30 AM and immediately started my morning prayers. I am praying a novena to St. Peregrine and also prayed prayers to St. Anthony, St. Padre Pio, our Blessed Virgin Mother, and of course, our Lord Jesus Christ. After my prayers, I felt at peace and filled with hope. I felt we would have good news this day. And we did.

There is so much running around my mind, right now. All day we've been spreading the good news to our families and friends. Mickey will be "under surveillance," having to visit several doctors to keep posted on his progress. He is healing wonderfully after a major surgery. I am thrilled beyond words that I have my husband back in our home and that tonight, after a week of him being in the hospital, we will once again share our bed and wake up in the morning next to one another.

Cancer is a very scary word. But today showed me that God is most definitely bigger. I told my father that I had already prayed for God's will to be done and understood that the news could have gone in another direction. As you may imagine, I am so very glad it went toward healing and recovery. Quite simply, our lives changed within a week's time. Our diets are going to change. We will start walking together or engage in some kind of exercise to keep active. Our holidays will be sweeter and I believe both of us will look at each day as a true gift given to us by God.

There is also another aspect of this trial. I leaned on our Mother Mary more than I ever have in my life. I really felt as though she cared and yes, petitioned for the prayers that were crying from my heart. I have always felt God's presence but Mary has been another matter. Today, I felt as though she was smiling down upon us.

My husband is going to do a video about the importance of colonoscopies and that everyone should be screened. If it weren't for the bleeding, I know he never would have done it on his own. He is one of the most stubborn men I've known when it comes to visiting a doctor. But now he is, in a sense, "born again" regarding medical testing. As one student-doctor said to us, Mickey "dodged a big bullet" on this one.

Thank you all for your prayers. There is really no way I can repay you except to express my gratitude. Your prayers not only affected Mickey's health, but mine. I felt strength and a great deal of encouragement. I posted on all the ukulele message boards about Mickey's news and was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support. Mickey and I are very, very blessed to have such friends in our lives.

Tonight, Mickey and I prayed a thanksgiving prayer for everything God has done and we asked that our heavenly Father blesses each and every one of you for your compassion. He is so good! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. :-)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Post I Never Thought I'd Write: Update on Prayer Request #Catholic

My last post requesting prayer was cryptic for a few reasons. First, I notice that many Catholic bloggers, when requesting prayers for certain situations, are vague with whom they are for or the reason for the request. This practice is surprisingly refreshing and humble, since it seems Catholics have a prayer for every need on earth and quite a few that cover a multitude of needs.

Second, I really wasn't sure what was going on but there also was a bit of shock going on in my system as I entered into the unknown. I now come to you and ask for your prayers and intercession on behalf of my darling husband, Mickey. As some of you know, Mickey is not Catholic although he has Catholic great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers. He was cooperative enough to enter into the annulment process (because he was divorced) on my behalf so that our marriage could be blessed by the Church when I returned to Catholicism in 2008. I could not have asked God for a better spouse and our love for one another only has deepened over the years.

Yesterday, we celebrated our nine year anniversary in a hospital. Not where I would have wanted to do so, but circumstances had brought us there. Mickey was admitted to the hospital on Friday, December 3 for rectal bleeding. As you may suspect, this caused alarm. We went to the hospital's emergency room where, after checking him, they advised to admit him so they could keep an eye on him. I agreed and we did. A colonoscopy was ordered, but unbeknownst to me, there are certain procedures that aren't done over the weekend unless it's an emergency. So Mickey had to wait until Monday.

I think I can say that Monday was one of the most trying times of my life. The colonoscopy wasn't scheduled until the end of the day. It is a fairly quick procedure and thank God we have this method of examining our colons. Sometimes polyps grow in the colon that if left unchecked, can become cancerous. During a colonoscopy, they can safely remove these little buggers before they cause trouble. With Mickey's colonoscopy though, they found something a little larger than a polyp. They found a tumor.

And... that's when the roller-coaster ride of "what is it and what do we do?" began. The doctors determined that Mickey needed surgery to remove that section of his colon and tests began. CAT scan, X-rays, blood work. The good news is that his CAT scan came back clear as did the X-ray. Later on Tuesday, he had a bone scan. Yesterday morning we received more good news that his bone scan was clear. I was elated! Yesterday, on our ninth anniversary, Mickey had surgery to remove that nasty tumor, for which I was immensely grateful. But now, there is one more test to take, which I especially ask for your prayers: the lymphatic system. During surgery, it's routine to remove lymph nodes to test. So my prayers have been that this test will also show up as clear.

When things like this happen, it's so easy to say, "Why me? Why us?" As I walked down the hospital's corridor yesterday, I said to myself, "Why not me? Why not us?" We don't know the reason why God permits certain things in our lives, we only know that He is there and He is in charge. My faith has been getting a huge work-out this week and dare I say, so has Mickey's. I have been incredibly touched by the prayers and support we've already received from my home church as well as friends and family.

God has given me encouragement in many ways. For instance, the first nurse I talked to in the endoscopy department was very compassionate. After I got the news (and heard for the first time the word "tumor"), I said to her, "I think I'm going to cry." She immediately came over and gave me a hug and told me it was totally understandable as I cried on her shoulder. I then collected myself and said, "Well, I'm going to find the right saint for this one and start a novena!" She smiled.

I walked away and then thought, "Hmm. She looks Catholic to me." So being the enormous extrovert that I am (even in this circumstance), I marched back over to her and asked, "Hey, by any chance are you Catholic?" She smiled and nodded. In fact, she told me she attended St. Cecilia's, which is around the corner and down the street from where we live. I was surprised. "Wait a minute," I said. "I attend St. Cecilia's too, on occasion. I think I might know you...." As my mind ran through past introductions, it dawned on me. "I think you're my neighbor!"

She looked at me smiling, but with a puzzled look. I then described her back yard, which is adjacent to our building, and then described her husband who takes such pride in his garden, and especially in growing his hostas'. She nodded. Yes, that was her husband and garden. I slightly remembered here because one time when I went to church, I noticed she was getting in the car with her daughter. I pulled out behind them and saw they were going to the same place as me. We both talked about what a small world it was. I knew in that moment that I was in the right place and that God was watching over us.

At the moment, my husband is recovering from his surgery yesterday. There are all sorts of things he is going through in order to help him heal. But what I cherish above everything else is prayer. I attended Mass yesterday for the Holy Day of Obligation for our Blessed Mother's Immaculate Conception. (I found it interesting that I chose that day to get married without even realizing what day it was. Even though I wasn't in the Catholic Church at the time, I can't help but think this is significant.) I have been discovering some beautiful prayers and yes, the patron saint for cancer is St. Peregrine. This morning I prayed the Sacred Heart of Jesus prayer for the first time, at least for the first time I can remember. (What a tender and lovely prayer!)

So I ask for you to also keep my darling man in prayer. He is such a good man and treats people with love and respect. He gets along with everyone and is full of life, very much a "happy-go-lucky" type that can charm anyone. Throughout it all, I do ask for God's will and know that His will is indeed perfect. I ask for the grace and strength to accept whatever His will may be and the same for Mickey and our family and friends.

You, my dear readers, have encouraged me with your comments many times in the past. I want to thank you for your past prayers and ask if you send up a few more on behalf of my dear husband. I felt the prayers yesterday from my church family. How anyone gets through such times as these without faith is a mystery to me. Praise God for His Son, His Holy Spirit, for our Blessed Mother, and for all the angels and saints who constantly intercede on our behalf. I can safely say that since returning to the Catholic Church, I feel as though I have more "spiritual coverage" than I ever did outside of it. I am amazed and humbled, surprised and delighted. To God be all the glory. :-)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Prayer Request

A personal intention, but a loved one is in need of prayer. Thank you very much.