Friday, February 22, 2008
This little girl has been missing for almost a year. The URL I have pasted below takes you to Urban Legends where one can see that this is a true story and not just a joke or urban legend. Please pray for her and her family...
To read more about Reachelle Marie Smith's disappearance click here.
Then read an extra story to your little ones and give them lots of hugs! I'll be doing that today for sure! Read more!
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
What has often happened on our business/pleasure trips is that once we arrive it is almost lunch time or just past and everyone is starving and we drive around wasting gas trying to find an inexpensive place to eat - if we have not brought a picnic lunch. In which case we drive around looking for a park to eat in. This time we decided to be smart and head straight for the visitor center loudly proclaimed on a nearby street sign.
Once there, we parked and soon found a friendly volunteer whom we asked where one might find a Subway or similar eatery where one could feed a hungry crew of eight children cheaply.
"Weeell," he drawled. "you won't find much of that in the downtown area - it's mostly your regular restaurant fare. For the fast food joints you want to go to Spring Street." And then he kindly drew a black line on the map he was using to show us the highlights from the area to us, and made a few more suggestions about where to sight see.
As Hugo and I hustled back to the starving captives in the family van we discussed whether to sight see just a little in the down town area before heading to Spring Street. I argued that the children would not enjoy walking around downtown much as long as their tummies were grumbling. Consulting the wiggly black line our friendly volunteer had drawn for us - we agreed to compromise. We would walk to the local fast food strip. It appeared to be within ten blocks. Blocks, that our volunteer had assured were much shorter than most city blocks.
We released the hungry horde and strapped the two youngest, Emma and Elsa, into their strollers and I heaved the knapsack, filled with the essentials, onto my back. Remembering I wanted to add to my booty the waterless hand sanitizer that I rarely leave home without these days - I asked Hugo for the keys... the fatal error you recall reading about earlier this week.
Loooong story short - we strolled for about 3 blocks to get to Spring Street - so far so good. However, about 20 blocks later - we began to realize this was not going to be the short jaunt we thought it was going to be - but by then we were so far from the van that it seemed to make more sense to continue on as surely we would soon see a fast food joint.
A quick stop in a florist shop and we were assured that we would see a MacDonalds about 2 - 3 blocks after the very next set of lights.
Three sets of lights later - and we were really beginning to lose hope. Suddenly one of the children spied golden arches in the distance and we hurried our sore and aching feet a little more quickly.
Thirty minutes later - tummies full and Hugo ready to head off for the van, I prepared myself to keep the smaller clan members busy. We waved good bye to Daddy and Anna and refilled our cups at the Soda Fountain.
Forty minutes later - when I confidently announced that Daddy and Anna were probably at the
van Noah asked the fatal question... at which point we began to hurriedly pack every one and everything up and. About 2/3rds of the way back down Spring Street we met up with Anna and Hugo walking back up towards us.
Deciding we had not driven four hours just to deliver a compressor and eat at MacDonalds, it was decided that even though it was rather late, starting to get chilly and dusk was just a short time away - we would still explore the downtown...
We were enjoying the old fashioned store fronts and the incredible architecture
when I spied a familiar sign in the very near distance. In a horrified tone I exclaimed; "HUGO LOOK!"
"What, look at what?" he asked.
"LOOK" - I commanded and pointed.
There, not ten minutes from where we had parked beside the visitors center, was....
(Not my photo)
My husband looked at me and asked "What did I want to do? EH? What did I want to do?"
None the less - we had a great time and we are really looking forward to heading back to Charleston soon and seeing all the sights we didn't have time to see due to our decision to be smart and eat first....
We arrive in Charleston and catch sight of an awesome bridge in the distance. This picture was taken from the van as we were driving, with the camera set on the sports/action setting.
Next thing we knew - we were actually crossing this really cool and huge bridge.
A very tall hotel downtown.
At some point in Charlestons history - it was decided that property taxes would be determined by the amount of road frontage one took up. This led to very narrow and incredibly long houses. One house's windows numbered ten and then there was an addition beyond that.
The highlight of the trip came soon after the shock of learning that our friendly volunteer clearly knew not of what he was talking about.
We do not sport any Catholic bookstores within an hours drive of us, so for some of the kids - this was their first experience of a Catholic bookstore. They were delighted. Here below I caught a photo of Bethany and Noah after a friendly exchange with Sister Jane. All of the children had the opportunity to chat with her.
Sister kindly invited us to visit their enclosed rose garden that one enters through their little tea room. It was a delight as you will see...
Elsa enjoyed blowing kisses to the Baby Jesus cradled in His Foster Father's arms. She is clutching the post card she was allowed to pick out and pay for.
Emma and Bethany posed under the palm tree for me.
Another, much smaller, statue of Saint Joseph in the Daughters of Saint Paul's rose garden.
Our Lady Of Guadalupe graces their garden wall.
They have very thoughtfully created a lovely little play room in the back of the store where you can easily keep an eye on the children and browse the many books nearby.
Some of the trees sprouted very large roots. Bethany sat here for me so we could show how big this set of roots are.
Nathaniel enjoyed pushing his baby sister in her stroller. In fact he was very determined to push her as much as he was allowed.
Here Benjamin, Noah and Bethany are exploring a very knobby tree trunk.
Despite the crazy turn of events that lunch took, we really had a good time and all of the kids agree that they are looking forward to going back. But most especially - they are all looking forward to visiting the Daughters of Saint Paul again. Read more!
Friday, February 15, 2008
Congress considers transforming AIDS relief into a massive abortion program financed by U.S. taxpayers
A Congressional committee is about to take America's overseas AIDS relief program and use it as a vehicle for population control and abortion promotion. Knights are urged to write to their members of Congress (especially if they're members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee) to oppose this change. See additional details at the bottom of this e-mail alert.
The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is due for reauthorization in 2008. In 2003 this bill was passed with bipartisan support and has a proven record of success in saving lives.
Last month, however, the House Foreign Affairs Committee proposed a reauthorization bill (the "Global HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008") which would drop the program's exclusive focus on HIV/AIDS, and define HIV/AIDS and pregnancy as a "dual threat" to women's lives.
The $50 billion authorized by the bill would then be used for both AIDS relief and what are termed "women's reproductive health services" and "family planning services." Although the bill's definition of "reproductive health" does not mention "abortion," abortion advocates have long interpreted "reproductive health" and "family planning" to include abortion. Women seeking solely HIV/AIDS treatment could unexpectedly find themselves subjected to abortion counseling.
MEXICO CITY POLICY
Currently, the Mexico City Policy provides that no U.S. population assistance funds can be given to non-governmental organizations unless they certify that it will not perform or promote abortion as a method of family planning. But the Mexico City Policy does not apply to AIDS relief legislation. The insertion of "reproductive health" and "family planning" in AIDS relief legislation is a ploy to redirect AIDS relief money to international abortion organizations, and represents an end run around the Mexico City Policy restrictions. Foreign abortion groups that cannot currently obtain US funding for family planning would be able to do so under this AIDS relief legislation.
CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES AFFECTED
Catholic health institutions deliver approximately 25% of all HIV and AIDS care worldwide, and this bill places Catholic participation in jeopardy. Men, women and children seeking treatment for HIV and AIDS by Catholic providers in the world's poorest regions could lose their access to treatment.
On February 6, Bishop Thomas Wenski, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, and Ken Hackett, President of Catholic Relief Services, wrote to the Foreign Affairs Committee, welcoming the major increase in funding for AIDS relief, but said that they were "deeply troubled" by inclusion of 'reproductive health' and 'family planning' services . . ."
That is why the National Right to Life Committee and many other organizations are asking that the legislation be changed, and we ask that you do, too.
Click here for the full text of Bishop Wenski's letter and a fact sheet.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Contact members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee by phone, FAX or e-mail. This is especially important if your own representative in Congress is a member of the committee. Click here for a list of committee members.
Even if your representative is not on the committee, it will also be helpful to contact your representative and your U.S. senators by mail, Fax, e-mail or phone. Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121 or call your representative's local office.
"When you reauthorize the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), please do NOT link the AIDS/HIV program to family planning and abortion. PEPFAR should keep its bipartisan focus on saving human lives. Those suffering from HIV/AIDS should not be sacrificed to the cause of abortion and population control."
WHEN:Due to the death of Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos, markup of this legislation has been postponed until February 25. Immediate action will ensure that your voice is heard before the committee action is taken. Read more!
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
I have added a slide show on the side bar of some of the highlights - but unfortunately it does not show as well in the side bar as it does full screen. After all of my work I feel obliged to leave it up, at least until I have something better to put in its place.
I hope to post more later but to be honest, my brain has run away again. Hopefully it will come home soon. Tomorrow though, we will all be Charleston, South Carolina delivering a compressor so if it should come home tomorrow (my brain - that is) there will be no one here but the dog to receive it. Let's hope he doesn't decide it is a chew toy!
You see how my humour deteriorates when I have no brain... Read more!
Friday, February 08, 2008
You pick me up when I fall.
You pat my shoulder if I bawl.
Show me how to count my joys,
and not be greedy with my toys.
This hard, hard life I can not bear
but yet you help me persevere.
(photo credit http://www.childoflight.org/children.html)
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Sometimes a tragedy hits close to home. Maybe because you knew the extended family, or you went to school with a friend of someone involved, or maybe its just because it was where you used to live or visit often. In this case - Combermere is a place of special memories for our family. We traveled up the mountain roads on more than one occasion to visit Madonna house or friends who owned farmland up there. And having lived so far north it is easy for me to envision the snowy white roads and the frozen lake where the tragedy took place.
While we have not been to Madonna house or in the nearby area where the two college students drowned in over 11 years, learning of this tragedy has brought back many memories. And mixed with them are my prayers for all of those involved in this very sad event. Yet while all who knew the two young people who died are greatly saddened, it seems that this college is filled with a hope. A hope that springs from living out their Catholic faith.
The president of the college has shared; "While the college, and indeed, the surrounding community, was shocked and saddened at the news, the sadness at the college is pervaded with a hope and even a joy at the near knowledge that these two souls, so close to God on earth, are bound to be with Him in Glory.", and one of the professors stated that; "I'm going to continue talking with them," he says of Sanders and Lieu. "I'm going to tell the students they're more real now than they were when they were alive."
Such amazing faith. To learn more about the college the students were from go here. And please remember this tiny Catholic community that is tucked away in the snowy valley of Ontario Canada as they mourn the loss of two beautiful lives while they also celebrate the life they brought to the community. Read more!
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Sister Patricia has been sending out a novena for employment and I read the first days prayers and then a fit of rebellion slipped in and I refused to read any more of the prayers as they came into my inbox the past few days. (If you do not know Sister yet - click here)
Now after my wonderful announcement of employment why am I irritated by a novena for employment? Well, while I am working... it is on commission and it will take a while before I see the fruits of my labour. Hugo is busy with school, maintaining the eBay business at a very low key level and has not had the time to begin the Spanish classes we had hoped to start. He is still looking for a job and we are w a i t i n g, w a i t i n g, w a i t i n g for a withdrawal from our retirement funds in Canada and it is a p a i n f u l l y s l o w process. If all goes well - so many prayers will be answered and our life will improve immeasurably. But so many things have gone wrong the past years that sometimes I have a very difficult time being able to trust in God.
Sadly the past few days, partly I suspect because I am suffering from what I am calling 'battle fatigue' due to the illness our family has been battling against, I have been finding it especially difficult to be patient and to trust in God's goodness. Until recently I had just kept giving this whole "waiting" scenario over to God.
Then tonight I was eating a quick bowl of cereal and writing a note of thanksgiving to my Dad and step mum, when I noticed an email had come in. I was curious so I clicked on it - it was from Sister Patricia. I sighed, felt grumpy and was not going to read it - after I had not read the last 4 or 5 so why read this one, eh?
Well - I decided to take a peek just to see how irritated it would make me feel.
This is the message I got...
Now its time to spread a little Franciscan wisdom. One of our own American Franciscan saints to "be" (he's a blessed but not canonized) is Bl. Solanus Casey. A very wonderful and holy man. Father Solanus's favorite saying, was "Thank God ahead of time!"
Of course we know its very St. Paul based too! But this is such a great and wonderful way to pray. If you want a miracle - then Saint Paul tells us we must believe we are going to receive one. What better way to jump start our faith than to start "Thanking God ahead of Time!"
Solanus Casey used to say with a twinkle in his eye (he was a very warm-hearted and holy man) that when we thank God ahead of time... we put God in a tough spot....God is almost obliged to give us what we want because we've already thanked him for it!
Trusting God enough to thank Him before we get what we want is a great way to step out in faith. It's like trusting your parents to provide good things for you - trusting that your best friend is going to help you out when you are in trouble. Thanking God is all about trust and appreciation. I truly believe that God likes to be thanked .... and doing it ahead of time is showing our great confidence in our loving God. Anybody can thank God "after" they get what they prayed for - but it takes faith to do it "before" the answers come!
So go ahead! Spend the whole day thanking God for the wonderful job he is finding for you or for those you are praying for. Almost immediately you will feel stronger and excited about what is going to happen. A Joyful heart is good medicine and a joyful spirit makes someone want to be around you. If you are looking for a job than you really need to have people be glad to be around you because who knows where that job opening might come from? A family member, a friend, a person you smile and help on the street?
Dedicate yourself to Thankfulness!So... that is what I am going to do this LENT - spend each day thanking God for the blessings that have yet to come. I am going to thank Him for my first pay cheque from SIT, for Hugo's job that is just around the corner and will be a perfect fit, for the mortgage we will get. I will thank for the good health also just around the corner. I am going to thank him for the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit as he guides us in the purchase of our new home. I will thank him for my success in building a better prayer life and for success in creating and following a solid family rule - and on and on and on.... This Lent - I am going to just keep thanking God. And in thanking Him - I will be believing in Him and His graces and His gifts. Read more!
When the pediatrician looks very worried because he can not find an explanation for the sudden onset of a 105 temperature... after weeks of flu like symptoms that keep coming and going and had finally seemed to be gone and then this sudden spike in her fever brought you into his office.
When the doctor orders a blood count test and a Flu test and tells you our best hope is a positive flu test, and his voice trails off...
When the nurse comes back with a big grin on her face and says "SHE HAS THE FLU!" and you laugh in relief.
YES, we have the influenza - Type A - highly contagious, but treatable. Very treatable.
... and again later while this same two year old lies limply in your arms and whispers thank you as you put her favorite cartoon back on for her to watch for about the 12th time in a row.
This being the same 2 year old who has recently fallen in love with the word HATE. In fact you have heard "I hate dis tupid thing! " so much you begin to wonder how much you are carelessly using the word hate and resolve to be more attentive to your own vocabulary.
Yup - that is when the expression 'thank you' wrings your heart. Read more!
Sunday, February 03, 2008
She tearfully chomped on the tablet and then grabbed her legs complaining that they hurt. Then she jumped. "Mummy, der's a monster over der!!" she whispered.
I peered into the darkness to try and see what might be disguising itself as a monster but could not identify the culprit. I scooped her up and carried back into our bedroom where she shivered and shook in my arms.
"Mummy, DER it is!" She gasped.. "It's in my drawers." I flipped on the closet light and we both examined her drawers and again could not find the culprit.
I was beginning to worry she was hallucinating from the fever. As we turned away from the closet, she whispered, "JESUS!" Startled, I looked at her and said, "What?"
She whispered again to me, this time she said "Mummy, I want Jesus!"
As we lay in bed together, she continued to see monsters and then would call for Jesus. I talked a little to her about Jesus being with us in our hearts and all around us. Eventually she drifted off to sleep, leaving me to wonder about the innate ability of children to seek what is right and good. She was ill and frightened, seeing who knows what terrors of the imagination, and when I could not make the monsters go away - she instinctively called to Jesus for help. It is for no small reason that Jesus commands us to believe like little children. Read more!