Friday, August 22, 2014

7 Quick Takes about Italy, cars and hospitals


1.  The weekend after school was out for the summer my husband and I spent three glorious weeks in Italy.  I have not yet finished re-capping the trip and showing you pictures, but I will soon, I promise.  I do want to show you one though that means so much to both John and I.
This is the San Damiano Crucifix at St. Clare in Assisi.  It it he actual crucifix that St. Francis prayed in front of and was told "Repair my Church."  We stood and prayed under it one day and then went back another day to sit and meditate there.  It was one of the most blessed experiences.  I prayed in a special way for St. Francis to intercede in my husband's life in this last year of preparation before he is ordained (God willing) a deacon.  Why St. Francis, well, he was deacon!

2.  When we returned home there was a little health challenge that we are still recovering from. I'm not recovering so much as helping John recover.  The whole story is here if you are interested.  Hospitals are not fun places no matter how good the staff.  Waiting rooms are not comfortable and I frequently felt like I was just about to get a headache.  School has started but sadly, not for my math teacher.  Hopefully he'll go back soon.

3.  Back to school week is very entertaining on Facebook with all those sweet pictures of excited children and backpacks.  I did have a few twinges of nostalgia as I recalled when our two were in school.  However, I do not miss the endless forms to fill out and school supply buying trips.  

4.  This week we will have a first ever Ministry Fair at work.  Here's the flyer, made on Canva
Hope it goes well.  Send up a prayer please.  

5.  September is a very busy month.  I realized I need something to wear Ordination, Confirmation and Acolyte installation.  The Ordination and Confirmation are on the same weekend, same Bishop.  Will he notice if I wear the same dress?  I think not.  It would be great if I had a dress to wear.  I have some great fabric and I know what I want pattern I want to use, but not sure I will have time.  I may have to go shopping. Oh yea, and there's that alb which needs finishing, soooon, very soon or I'm going to be in big trouble!  And my husband will be alb-less in addition to having to wear shorts and his big old walking boot to the installation Mass.

6.  In May we had a car accident.  It took over a month to get my car repaired.  It was returned to me with a spoiler and no trunk light.  Fine.  Then, one week after John is home from the hospital, the car battery dies.  The following week I get my front brakes replaced.  Oh, the sound of silence coming from the car is beautiful.  That night after picking up the car, my tire light goes on!  UGH!  It times like these that I wish I lived in a place where there was public transportation!  

7.  Next week I am going back to the gym.  I miss exercise (wow, I said it and I mean it) like peanut butter misses jelly; like coffee misses cream; like a hot dog misses a bun; like sausage misses peppers.  There's only one thing from that little list I enjoy, just saying!

Thank you Jen for hosting.  


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

So my head doesn't explode

Random things which I feel the need to express; I clearly am not spending enough time with people or maybe not enough time with wine or at the gym?

1.  In regard to Pinterest:  and yes, I know it's free.  I don't want to see "related pins" from people I don't follow.  I can do that by clicking over on the left on a topic of my choosing.

2.  Fall.  People it is August.  Here in S. Fl. temps do not drop until Halloween (maybe) but really, Fall starts on September 23 this year.  I checked since I know I lack perspective given it's so HOT here.  Stop with the fall stuff, you're rushing.

3.  Someone needs to let me know when everyone is done with the ALS challenge.

4. If you know what has been going on in my life for the past month, please don't ask me why I don't look/seem like myself.  The fact that I am clean and clothed is enough.

5.  I like cooking way more than shopping for food to cook, planning what to cook or cleaning up after I cook.

6.  Why are some people comma happy?

7.  Why are beds so cozy if you can't stay in them all day?

8.  Hospital beds are not made for tall people.

9,  If I could choose a superpower it would be teleportation.

10.  Sleep helps me be nice.

11.  A nothing box would be awesome.  

By the numbers

It's been 43 days since I posted.  It has been 36 days since life changed in a slightly big way. It all began with a toe.  It is still not over.  So what happened?  Well, it began with my husband and a visit to the podiatrist and ended with 1 surgery, 4 procedures, 4 pins, 2 stents, 1 balloon, 1 PICC line after 12 days in the hospital.  Hospital time is not like real time, it passes much more slowly but I seemed to age much more quickly.  It was like we were always hurrying to wait.
Leaving a hospital is an exercise in extreme patience.  But we left and brought home about half a ream of paper worth of instructions and drug interaction information and prescriptions and wound care and people to call and doctor appointments to make.  It took me days to read it all; thankfully I didn't make any mistakes that caused a problem.  If you read that previous sentence carefully it tells you I made mistakes.  However, the toe is still attached, and all his other numbers are good, so I cut myself some slack.
Now he is healing.  Lucky man gets to spend 2 hours a day in a hyperbaric chamber breathing pure oxygen. His comment after the first treatment, "It's not the spa treatment I was led to believe it would be."  I guess maybe not so lucky. He's done 8 so far, 12 more to go (as of now).  I do think the wrinkles on his face are less pronounced since he's been going in there.  Oh wait, it's for his toe!  Doctor says that's healing quite well.  So the wrinkles are a bonus.   He also has an IV antibiotic almost all day, every day. And I get to change the dressing on his toe every other day.
It has not been easy but as the course of events unfolded in the hospital we realized how God was watching out for John and making sure he had excellent doctors.  When you go from no M.D. to 6 it can be overwhelming yet each one was exactly what he needed.
We are learning patience, being reminded constantly about the power of prayer, and grateful for that big toe's problems.  If not for that toe...well, let's not go there.
Life is different now.  Some things will go back to what they were once John's toe is healed.  He'll go back to work, I'll move back to my side of our bed.  Other things will not, like the foods we eat and the lack of snoring; I really, really hope the snoring stays away.
The other day was one month from the start of this journey.  It has been difficult, frightening, and stressful.  It has been full of grace, joy, and blessings.  It has been life!  And praise God, it's not over.



Monday, July 7, 2014

St. Catherine of Siena and a great surprise in Rome

Catherine of Siena is a favorite saint of mine.  She was born and lived in Siena, Italy but died in Rome in 1380, only thirty-three years old.  She was in Rome at the request of Pope Urban VI who wanted her advice on unifying the Church.  When she died her body was entombed in Rome.  Her head, however, is in Siena.
In planning our trip to Italy, I had originally hoped to go to Siena, not that I really wanted to see her head, because you can if you like that sort of thing, but I wanted to see where she lived, the Church dedicated to her and get to know more about her.  For various reasons I couldn't work it out from home and so decided that if God wanted us to go to Siena, it would happen and if not, so be it.
I never once thought to find out where Catherine was in Rome.  Not once.  I have no idea why I didn't but I didn't.  In Rome, she was the last saint on my mind as we walked the streets searching for the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola.
Most churches in Rome have very unassuming exteriors, often you can't even find the name of the church.  We had left the Pantheon and where aiming towards St. Igantius Loyola, clutching our map and trying to find a street sign.  We see a church with an elephant outside of it and John suggests we go in to see what's inside.  I'm a bit reluctant because my other saint is on my mind, but we were right there so in we went. It is beautiful the Basilica di Santa Maria sopra Minerva (St. Mary over Minerva, built over a temple of Minerva, goddess of wisdom) I look at the map of the interior of the Church (Italian version) and see Main Altar:  St. Catherine of Siena.  I check the English version and sure enough, I read it correctly.  I am speechless. John tries to get me to look at the side altars and art but I am off to the main altar.  I shed tears (and that is so not me) as I saw her tomb.
So beautiful.  I knelt and prayed and felt such peace.  I thanked God for leading us to her.  It was a gift. 

This prayer was on a prayer card in the Church:

O God, who adorned blessed Catherine with the particular privilege of virginity and of patience and who permitted her to triumph over the assaults of evil spirits and to remain steadfast in the love of your name, grant, we implore you, that we, in imitation of her, the corruption of the world scorned and the dangers of all our enemies conquered, may attain your glory with certainty.  Through Christ our Lord, Amen.  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Papal Audience

On June 11 my husband and I were in Rome and had the the awesome privilege of attending the Papal Audience that morning.  And there is a story.  Of course there is a story. And it begins the day before when we arrived in Rome.  Our letter for the tickets gave us directions to the North American College where we were to pick up said tickets.  After much effort to find the college, we had the tickets in hand and a young sister from South Bend, Indiana gave us all the particulars for the event.
Our hotel was a ten minute walk to the gates of St. Peter Square and we set off at 6:15 a.m. or so to arrive early to get good seats.  You see, a ticket gets you in but it is not a reserved seat.  And I wanted good seats.
Alas, we misunderstood the directions and it took us an hour to get where we needed to go.  We considered it our morning cardio.
We waited with all the other throngs of people, went through security, and found pretty good seats near an aisle.  At this point no one had asked to see our tickets.  Se we are sitting, waiting and it is hot.  As in Rome was having a heat wave hot, 90 degrees hot and the sun is shining ever so brightly and people fan themselves with whatever they have handy.  In this case, tickets; cream colored tickets all around me.  Wait, why are we the only ones who have red tickets?  John says maybe those are tickets from America.  Possible, but no there's a group of college students from PA waving cream colored tickets.
I get up, show a Swiss Guard my tickets and he says, "go up there", pointing to the top of the steps.  I get my husband and we go up the steps after showing our tickets to security.



It was an experience I will not forget.  Seeing Pope Francis ride through the square, waving, kissing babies, hearing the crowd cry out "Papa Francesco" and then listening to him speak was a blessing.

After he speaks in Italian, different priests from various language groups give a brief summary of what he said.  Then we received his blessing and this blessing was not only for us but for our families and loved ones and in a special way for the young, old and ill.
Here is his talk that day or you can watch a video:

While I didn't get to meet Pope Francis it was still an emotional, exciting time.  My only regret was not realizing what the red tickets meant from the beginning.  Next time!