Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything by James Martin- Chapter 1

Hello all!  So much for a post every few days- ha! AJ has some nasty virus that has dogged him for three weeks.  I haven't been able to do anything extra since I'm taking days off here and there, visiting doctors and just generally trying to catch him up in school.  He's still sick so another trip to the doctor is in order tomorrow.   Anyway...onto the book!

I'm going to just quickly outline each chapter with little detail.  Then, I'm going to give a short personal reflection.  Please feel free to share right along!  I'm hoping that by outlining each chapter, the material will be more accessible in my working memory.  At the very least, I have a reference in case I want to return to the material.  

Here goes.  

Chapter 1

What is a spirituality? 
  • How you live in relationship with God
  • Christian spirituality believes Jesus is the Son of God
    • emphasis on love and charity
  • Spirituality is like a bridge 
    • All bridges do the same thing-they get you over rough terrain to a desired place
    • Different bridges serve different purposes and have distinct advantages and disadvantages
    • All spiritualities provide passage to God in different way
  • Each religious order has 'family traditions' and a charism that reflects how they relate to God
  • Hallmarks of Ignatian spirituality
    • Finding God in all things
      • your whole life is related to spirituality
      • spirituality isn't compartmentalized to a section of your life
      • Nothing has to be hidden away or feared
      • Ignatian spirituality guides you in finding God in all dimensions of your life
    • Contemplatives in action
      • prayer is important, but Jesuits are active with their spirituality
      • use a contemplative stance to inform actions
    • Incarnational spirituality
      • God can be found in the everyday events of our lives
      • Ignatian spirituality acknowledges the transcendence of God, but also realized the nearness of God
    • Freedom and detachment
      • identifying 'disordered affections'- they are what keep us from really being free
      • wealth, power, status, etc can become disordered affections
      • a disordered affection is anything that isn't life-giving
  • The Life of Ignatius Loyola
    • Born 1491, Basque, Spain
    • became a soldier, vain personality
    • 1521 leg shattered in battle
    • While he was recuperating, his sister-in-law gave him a book on the saints
    • He had nothing else to read- he became fascinated with the saints and wondered if he could emulate them (Martin describes the fact that Ignatius went about the spiritual life in a prideful way.  But, really, God "writes straight with crooked lines" and used his pride for good)
    • He began a year of severe austerity
    • After many false starts, he decided to get an education at the University of Paris
    • It was in Paris that he and 6 friends joined together in a vow of poverty. 
    • They tried to petition the Pope to start a new order.  But, many were suspicious of the practice of being a contemplative in action.  Ignatius was even thrown in jail by the Inquisition for 17 days. 
    • 1537- ordained a priest
    • 1540- Society of Jesus was approved by Pope Paul III
    • Ignatius spent the rest of his days administering the Jesuits, writing the Constitutions and the Spiritual Exercises
    • Died 1556
  • Constitutions
    • How to live your life with others
    • Rules of the order
  • Spiritual Exercises
    • How to live your life
    • 4 week retreat- all Jesuits make this retreat
    • Can be condensed and adapted for lay people
Okay- that was longer than I thought it would be!  I love the metaphor of spirituality being like a bridge.  It's so encompassing and forgiving.  It's the best way I've read so far of describing spirituality.  When I read the 4 main principles of Ignatian spirituality, I was immediately drawn to them.  Besides the freedom and detachment, I have a natural orientation toward this spirituality.  And, I crave freedom and detachment, it's just not natural for me.  

Okay, I am falling asleep.  Please excuse the lame reflection.  If I think of more, I'll add to it in the next few days.  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Quick Takes

1. Thanks so much for your help with the HCG fear and questions.  I was able to inject myself three times- I was supposed to do it four, but I skipped the first dose.  I watched a few youtube videos on intramuscular injections.  Of course, they were done by women doing IVF and surrogacy- yikes.  I was able to do it in my rear and hubby watched the first one.  It was a breeze and didn't hurt one bit.  Anyway, the first dose was supposed to be on the day before Thanksgiving.  Since we were hosting, I was afraid of side effects so I skipped the dose.  I'm a rebel.  Actually, I feel slightly better on the HCG.  My skin is clear!  Very tender breasts still.  I can't find much info about long term side effects of this drug.  That's my next task.

2.  Today I've been sort of weepy which is very unusual for me.  Has that happened to anyone on HCG?  It could be because I'm in a very, very good place in my life.  I feel good.  I am untying my thoughts which has given me a huge spiritual lift.  I am actually enjoying my life.  Yesterday was a wonderful day and I think I might just be crying tears of joy and thanksgiving.

3. I want to to a series of posts on being a catholic wife and mother who works outside the home.  There have been several bloggers that have broached this subject either because they find themselves in the situation where they have to work or because they have a strong opinion one way or another.  Maybe after Advent because...

4.  I didn't get signed up for prayer buddies in enough time.  I'm bummed, but I'm going to do something in it's place.  St. Roque Gonzalez de Santa Cruz was my patron saint for 2012.  His name is on a post it note on my computer.  It's ripped and tattered.  I read about him when he was assigned to me by the saint generator.  Then, I forgot about him.  Or, more precisely, I didn't pay attention to him.

5.  He was a missionary Jesuit and the first saint born in the Americas.  I have often found peace in my struggles being a working mom by comparing my family to missionaries and big homeschooling families to monasteries.  If we are a domestic church, that is precisely what we are.  We are definitely out in the world hopefully converting others by our living out of the gospel.  So, as I prepare for the birth of our Savior, I am going to be praying in earnest to St. Gonzalez for all of you.

6. And, in honor of St. Gonzalez's religious order, I'm going to do a book series on The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything by James Martin.  It's fourteen chapters long so I'll do a chapter every other day or so.  I loved the book when I read it a few years ago.  But, I read it quickly and it was when I was all foggy.

7.  Praying for all of you tonight as I put up our tree and clean up the house a bit.  Our day of rest and relaxation and fun was yesterday ;)

Saturday, November 17, 2012


At my last appointment, the doctor suggested HCG.  I'm on progesterone post peak and my last P+7 blood draw looked good.  She's recommending it because I'm getting one or two deep breakouts each cycle and one turned into cellulitis last spring.  Yuck.  And Ouch.  They don't think it's related to the progesterone, but thought we might as well see if this has an effect.  I have a few questions for you ladies...

1)  Are there short and long term side effects of HCG?

2) Any tips on giving the injections?  Does it have to be in the behind?

I've totally put off starting this for two months.  The prescription was sitting at the pharmacy that long.  I'm a little nervous about the injection and the side effects.  I feel so good right now- I don't want to mess it up.  Plus, I really haven't researched this drug at all.  The Napro nurse called me this week to see how it was going (I love that he calls to check in on me...) and I told him I hadn't started.  He told me this might make me feel even better and "it might be just what I need."  I was very clear the last time I was in that at this point,  treatments would be for general health and not fertility related.  That could change, but that's where I am right now.  He gave me a little bit of hope with that last sentence.  I haven't given up hope, but it's been fading over time.  Not fading in a bad way.  Just naturally fading as I enjoy and am thankful for the life God gave me.

Love you guys- praying for you everyday!!

Friday, November 2, 2012


I am happy for anyone who announces a pregnancy.  Anyone.  And I say a silent prayer of thanksgiving for another life on the planet and for a family who is open to it.

But, when it's not one of you guys, one of you who's been waiting for so long; I get a pit in my stomach and think, why can't it be you?  Just once.

I want to quit all the other blogs because I'm not sure if I can take one more.  But, then I'll wonder if I've missed an announcement.  I wonder whose next.  Simcha?  Rachel?  Arwen?

And then I look at my pimply chin and feel my tender breasts and know Aunt Flo is on her merry frickin' way.  I think about the HCG waiting for me at the drug store and I just want to ignore it all.  And pretend my body is normal.

Then I say a prayer for all the women in crisis pregnancies around the world.  Women without access to healthcare. Women in abject poverty with no clean water and no food and no shelter.  Women in refugee camps. Women in war torn regions.  I imagine them and their fear and I bring it to the Lord.  I do it to help give me perspective.  It's my sincere hope that God uses my selfishness to bring relief in some small way to them.

I've been wanting to say this for ages.  Please know that in all of my complaining and aching for another child, I am thankful for the one I have.  I want you to know lest you think I'm a spoiled brat for wanting more.  I know I'm spoiled.  I want you to know I know.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Thoughts on The Proverbs 31 woman

****Please excuse the formatting of this post. Once I cut and pasted from the USCCB website, the formatting went bonkers and I don't know how to fix it!

This is totally off the cuff- no google searches (okay, maybe one to see all kinds of blogs, programs, books dedicated to her- I promise that I didn't click on any of them), no books, no talks.  This is just where I'm at in my journey putting together what I've read and heard.

Before you even start you might want to do some relaxation here:

And get a pep talk about perfectionism here:

I've listened to Brene Brown's talks on youtube countless times this Fall.  There are about 4 longer ones that I've found.  Thanks Elizabeth Esther!  Anyway, Brene Brown is light, she's funny and her perspective is very interesting.  I'm sure some of her stuff wouldn't jive philosophically with our Church.  It's definitely secular.  But, she's helped me understand part of what to do with the 'in-between.'  How do you live in the in-between of what you want and what your life actually is?  She's helping me untie my thoughts and not be so ashamed of the life God has blessed me with.

First lets look at her (from USCCB website):

The words of Lemuel, king of Massa. The advice which his mother gave him:
What, my son, my first-born! what, O son of my womb; what, O son of my vows!
Give not your vigor to women, nor your strength to those who ruin kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, not for kings to drink wine; strong drink is not for princes!
Lest in drinking they forget what the law decrees, and violate the rights of all who are in need.
Give strong drink to one who is perishing, and wine to the sorely depressed;
When they drink, they will forget their misery, and think no more of their burdens.
Open your mouth in behalf of the dumb, and for the rights of the destitute;
Open your mouth, decree what is just, defend the needy and the poor!
When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls.
Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize.
She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life.
She obtains wool and flax and makes cloth with skillful hands.
Like merchant ships, she secures her provisions from afar.
She rises while it is still night, and distributes food to her household.
She picks out a field to purchase; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She is girt about with strength, and sturdy are her arms.
She enjoys the success of her dealings; at night her lamp is undimmed.
She puts her hands to the distaff, and her fingers ply the spindle.
She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy.
She fears not the snow for her household; all her charges are doubly clothed.
She makes her own coverlets; fine linen and purple are her clothing.
Her husband is prominent at the city gates as he sits with the elders of the land.
She makes garments and sells them, and stocks the merchants with belts.
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs at the days to come.
She opens her mouth in wisdom, and on her tongue is kindly counsel.
She watches the conduct of her household, and eats not her food in idleness.
Her children rise up and praise her; her husband, too, extols her:
"Many are the women of proven worth, but you have excelled them all."
Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her a reward of her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates.

1.   The whole proverb is advice from a queen mother to her son.  So, this is a woman with means.  She also appears to be healthy both mentally and physically.  Right there, if you have any infirmity  or poverty, you have a different state in life.  You might not have charges or have a prominent husband or have children or be able to obtain wool from afar.  

2.  This is the kind of woman that I am jealous of.  Hate to admit it, but it's true.  I look at their lives and think how easy they are.  But, really, this proverb is saying that it's a good idea for women with means to work all day and not be idle.  It's saying, get your hands dirty, know what's going on, be kind and look out for the poor while you're at it.  

3.  I've highlighted the parts that are related to station in life.  The first part of of the proverb is just a set up so really there are only a few lines that ALL women can relate directly to.

4.  Our savior said this (again from USCCB):

     “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
      Blessed are they who mourn
      for they will be comforted.
      Blessed are the meek,
      for they will inherit the land.
      Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
      for they will be satisfied.
      Blessed are the merciful,
      for they will be shown mercy.
      Blessed are the clean of heart,
      for they will see God.
      Blessed are the peacemakers,
      for they will be called children of God.
      Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
5.  Then our savior said this: 
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?....Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil."
We are commanded not to worry!!!  Thank you, Jesus!!
6.  Finally, my favorite: Jesus leaves us his peace.  He wants us to have peace.  He doesn't want us to compare, he wants us to live the life he put us in.  The more I live, the more I believe the Serenity Prayer has all the answers to the main questions in my life.  After saying everyday for several years, it is sinking in:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world

as it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

I am enough.  My life is enough.  It doesn't have to look like the Proverbs woman.  But, she points the way for my heart: fear the Lord, think about the poor, be kind.  I can take what is important from her and apply it to my life.  But, what's most important is what Jesus said.  Not everyone's life will look like hers.  What do we do then?  We trust.  And we get through day by day.  He sanctifies all of us who can't be the Proverbs woman.  She can still be there and we can look to her.  He makes is okay that we aren't her.  Thank you Jesus for your word, your example, your sacrifice.  I love you.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

Untying Knots

I'm working on 'untying my thoughts' in therapy.  My sweet therapist tells me mine are all bound up too tight.  I've taken seeking truth and not falling into the trap of relativism a bit too far.  It happened when I became serious about my faith.  I am uncovering all kinds of thoughts that I have that I didn't even realize were there. 

Catholic mothers shouldn't work outside the home.

Catholic families should be big. 

God will bless me if I follow the rules. 

I should be just like the Proverbs woman.  

Some of this came from Catholic media and how I interpreted it.  To be clear, I've gained far more than I've lost from Catholic media.  Like I said, these thoughts came from my interpretation of what I was reading and hearing.   However, I've learned that even with Catholic media, I must be cautious.

The best thing I get from Catholic media is the stories.  The blogs.  The stories of real women living out their faith on a daily basis.

It's there that I find women who work outside the home for whatever reason.  It's there that I find families of all sizes.  It's there where I find people who face adversity after adversity and through it all are faithful and loving.  It's there that I find women who strive to be that Proverbs woman, yet share the messes and mistakes of life.

Thank you all for sharing your stories and loosening the knots in my head.

Mary, Undoer of Knots, Pray for us

Sunday, September 16, 2012


It's been quiet around here as I try to figure out a way to make this blog a part of my new rhythm.  I've been reading and not commenting and obviously, not posting very much.

I've certainly been praying for all of you.  I pray for your intentions each day that I say a prayer to St. Jude, during consecration and during intentions at Mass.

My home is now organized- ahhhh.  Today, I finally finished the last place that needed to be touched which was the shed.  The house is not beautified, but it's organized and relatively clean.  I did take some before pics and haven't taken any after pics yet. I would never get this post up if I had to do that, too!   I can't tell you how good it feels.  It was quite the mess and took me the better part of this year to complete.  Now, it's on to making it pretty and keeping it organized.

We are in the process of redoing AJs room to make it not a toddler room.  He's actually having a really hard time with the change so I'm not sure how far we are going to get.  It was going to be so cool with all white and black Ikea furniture, wall to wall bookcases, orange paint and a dark gray accent wall.  We have most of the furniture so that's a done deal.  The painter comes Wednesday and we might just paint it the same color it is now which I never liked.  But, it's not my room and if I've learned anything from the last 10 years, it's that I'm not in control and that things might not turn out how I'd like.  And guess what?  The world will not come crashing down.

I've been working through a book called The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook.  While I don't have phobias, I have mild to moderate anxiety.  And, I'm quite sure it could turn into a phobia or phobias if I don't nip it in the bud.  The hardest chapter has been the one on self talk.  I'm identifying what I say to myself in different situations.  And, then, rewriting and relearning new thoughts.  Wow.  It's hard, hard work.  It has 4 main types of negative self talk: the critic, the worrier, the victim, and the perfectionist.  What's interesting is that I have hardly any victim or worrier in my patterns.  It's mostly perfectionist and critic.

What I've learned is that when I give my thoughts words, I turn from a muddled up mess into a somewhat coherent person.  I turn from someone who solely reacts into someone who has a bit of a rudder.  This blog helps give voice to the stray thoughts that run through my rattled brain.  What's more, is that your voices help me find mine.  They give me courage.  They inspire me.  They have healed my physical body.

Thank you for sharing.  I've missed you.  I hope this is a new beginning.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Eucharist in Target

We pulled out of our driveway on our way to Target.  My mom and me.  Mom and her radiation soaked brain doesn't always know what to say.  She asked me if our 3rd bedroom is just a storage room now.  I respond that it has AJ's stuff from his bedroom in it because we are painting his room.  She doesn't know that we hope to fill it up with another child.  She doesn't know that's why the cradle is still in there housing all the stuffed animals.  She doesn't know that the computer is on a card table because I hope to God that it doesn't become an office.  I can't take down the Noah's Ark wallpaper, not just yet.  Maybe in a couple of years.  She doesn't know.  She stopped asking about another baby when AJ was 5.

I thank God that it's Sunday and we read John 6 at Mass today.  And Jesus lives in me.  He loves me. He has a perfect plan and I trust Him.  What He's given me is enough.  It's an abundance beyond my wildest imagination.

Mom stops to talk to a one year old playing on the huge red ball outside Target.  His mom and dad were probably in their twenties, more than a decade younger than me.  The mommy had a newborn strapped to her chest.  Newborn was 11 days old.  We are inundated at Target with babies, with pregnancies, with newborns.  They are everywhere.  Why can't I be normal and have more babies?  Why? Why? Why?

It is enough.  His lives in me.  He knows what He is doing.  I trust You Jesus.  I can taste the hard bread that was washed down with the tart wine.  Thank You for giving me that sensory experience so that I will remember as I walk through  Target.  Remember that You love me.

We take a short cut through the little girl bedding aisle.  My mom says, "don't you wish you had a little girl."

I am cut open in an aisle in Target in rural Illinois.  But, He's there filling my heart with love, rooting out the bitterness and anger.  I hear him whisper, "I love you, it's okay.  It will all be okay."

What the heck would I do without the gift of the living Jesus?

Thank you Lord for the gift of the Eucharist. I am so weak that I need a tangible reminder every week of Your love, Your sacrifice and Your divine plan.  I need Your dry body and the warmth of Your blood in my mouth.

Thank you, Jesus. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Joy in Suffering

Many authors have hashed this out in many different ways.  I'm hashing this out in a very elementary way to help me understand more fully.

As I stood at my stove a few weeks ago, wishing I had more children, I realized my joy, my faith is witness to those around me who know my wish.  I am a shining light for Jesus because I suffer.   I want.  Yet I believe and trust.

I stood in line at the pool concession stand yesterday.  Earlier in the day, I had burned my hand and I needed a steady stream of ice water to cool the burn.  The ice water had turned tepid and my hand was on fire.  I thought about asking the kids at the front if I could cut.  I know them from Religious Ed.  They would have gladly let me in.  As I contemplated what to do, I started to think about women around the world who burned their hands that day trying to cook on open fire.  Certainly it happens all the time if I I burned my hand on my first world stove.  I thought of dirt floors and bare feet and tin walls.  I thought of flies buzzing and dirty water and humid air.  I prayed for these women and their families as I waited in pain.  The pain connected me.  It opened me up.  It humbled me.  I was thankful for it.

The joy in suffering isn't just a page in a book anymore.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

You are Saints!

The same day you all started praying, Guitar Man and I took a step toward healing.  We weren't really speaking about the issue- it was like beating a dead horse.  I showed him my blog the day after I posted and he said, 'When did they start praying?"  I said, "Yesterday."  His eyes got really big and then we shared what were each working through and realized that your prayers coincided with a step toward acceptance.  A step toward surrender.  A step toward trust.  It is still a time of difficulty, but we are pointed in the right direction thanks to you, the saints in heaven, our heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart ladies.

May God bless you with a day full of joy and peace!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Update and a Request

Hello Everyone!
Lots going on over here in Northern Illinois...
So happy for all the great news out in blogland!  The recent adoptions and pregnancy announcements are so exciting.  I inadvertently removed my Infertility Support blogroll (yikes).  I was moving all the ladies that now have babies to the other blogroll and accidentally removed the whole thing!  Oh will take some time to build it up again.

Guitar Man and I are facing a difficult time in our marriage.  It's happened before and it will happen again.  But, the fact is that it's not easy.  I'm over the fear part- that was last week. It's one of those things that will make us stronger, but very easily could lead to bitterness.  It's about rooting out sin, becoming vulnerable and opening ourselves to God's grace.  Unfortunately, I can't be specific- it's intensely private and if anyone IRL that I didn't trust found out, it would make the situation even more difficult.

I married Guitar Man because he's never let me down- EVER.  We've always grown and changed together so we've never grown apart.  But, for the past two weeks, we haven't been on the same page- there's been a distance.  I hate it.  I hate admitting it.  But, it's true.  We have to start with the truth so we can move forward.

I'm on day 6 of saying the Thirty Day Prayer to St. Joseph for him and for our marriage.  For the month of July, I am focusing on serving him in ways that matter to him: having a dinner plan, organizing the basement storage room, being off the internet when he's around, playing classical music on Pandora, sitting with him in the evening and gently touching his back or feet.

Would you please say a quick prayer for us?  We will be okay, but I trust your prayers will lighten the load and clear the way.   This little community packs a powerful punch in the prayer department.

Love you all and hope today brings you peace and joy.

God Bless.

Monday, June 25, 2012

5 tips for cheap and easy organic gardening (in other words, I'm procrastinating writing a serious post)

I have a million ideas running through my head....I'm going to start with the easiest.   IE....the least serious.

I've noticed that usually organic gardening requires either lots of money or lots of do-it-yourself know how.  We have neither.  So, here are my tips after living in my home for 11 years without using chemicals, lots of money or know-how.

1.  Live in a neighborhood or town that has a range of what's acceptable landscaping.  I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago where most homes had neat, weed- free, green lawns with evergreens for landscaping and rocks as ground cover.  Now, I'm in an a more rural area where weeds and perennials are more abundant.   Look for neighborhoods that have cars parked on other parts of the property besides the driveway.

2.  Buy a home where the people didn't take care of their landscaping.  Whatever you do, your neighbors will be happy and you'll look like fabulous homeowners.

3.  Of course, weed killer is out of the question.  That would be way too expensive and way too do-it-yourselfish and most definitely not organic.  The trick to having a lawn made up of weeds and not grass is to mow the lawn before it has a chance to flower.  Unless it's when the violets are blooming.  A purple lawn is so rad.  When there is a drought, you might have to mow because there is a pesky weed that actually flourishes without water and ends up looking like you have a lawn made up of ornamental grasses.

4.  Have your local tree service drop off a mulched up tree that they just took down.  Free mulch!  Or, free diseased tree that just was taken down and now you are distributing said disease around your yard.

5.  Become a teacher because then you won't be able to shop for flowers until the middle of June when all the flowers are 75% off.  Okay, that's not organic, but it's cheap!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Baring my Ambivalent Soul- please don't judge

First of all, I thought I've been responding to everyone's comments through email and then while I was reading Camp Patton, I realized maybe I wasn't.  So, when it says 'noreply,' in the email address, my email for the comment won't go through?  For all of you who have been leaving comments over the past few months, oops, sorry!   Basically, what I emailed to all of you was, "thank you, god bless you."  I love technology but, I'm not a techie!

We have been on a roller coaster ride over here for the last two months.  There's a lot to process and it could take 5 posts.  I'll start with the latest.

Guitar Man and I went to see Dr. Stalling, the newish Napro surgeon in Peoria.  We both loved her. She sat and listened to our story for over an hour.  She didn't push, she just suggested.  Our next steps will pre peak and post peak blood work to check hormone levels (I'm on progesterone), thyroid check (I'm on T3), semen analysis, ultrasound series, and if all that checks out, a lap to see if there's endo.

Guitar Man had to drag me kicking and screaming to Peoria for this appointment.  I really didn't want to go.  Mostly, it was because I kind of knew what she would suggest and I'm not sure if I'm up for it.  And, I know for sure even if I was up for it, Guitar Man wouldn't be.

I type this hoping you won't judge our marriage or choices.  We are different than most of you.  You are all so freely open and it is such a testament to your faith and willingness to accept church teaching.  We came to all of this late in the game.  I didn't even know about openness to life and vocation and theology of the body until maybe 6 years ago when I was 35.  Then, it took a while for all of  it to sink in.  Guitar Man isn't where I am in all of this either.  And, he thinks he's going to hell for not being open to life when we were younger. That's not going to change his mind about the amount of intervention he's up for.  And even though I'm behind all of you in my spiritual journey, I do know that my marriage comes first and I can't let this tear us apart.

Guitar Man just wants me to be healthy and if a baby results, then great. So, any intervention we would do would be to promote my health.  From my standpoint, I'm not sure if I'm up for an ultrasound series.  It's a 2 hour drive to Peoria so I'd probably have to stay down there for a few days. Then travel for a few days.  That's on top of getting all the blood work done.  There is another person to consider in all this- AJ.  I don't know if I want to drag him to all of this.  Of course a sibling for him would be worth it all and he'd be fine.

The important question is: what is God calling me and Guitar Man to do next?  Right now, I'm very ambivalent about it all.  According to what I've read in The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything, this is a good thing. Lots of prayer and journaling and talking are in order.

I just want to thank you all for your  inspiration and your willingness to share your stories.  I've learned so much about our beautiful faith through your witness.  God Bless you all!

Next up:

Vocation and the whisperings of the Holy Spirit

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Letter Update

I emailed the letter regarding the blessing last week to our priests.  When I didn't hear anything during the week, I was afraid they didn't get the email.  I didn't want to be a pain and email them asking them if they received the original email.  And, this week has been so busy that I haven't had time to deliver a hard copy to the church.  Then.... this afternoon I received a phone call from one of our priests.  He left the kindest message that I will probably keep on the voice mail for FOREVER.  He was reworking the blessing and said that he thought that last year's blessing was outdated and inadequate.  I guess they took it from the book of blessings that was published in the 70s.  He ended the message by saying, " I hope the Lord will bless you in your struggle with the gift of life."

Those words just touched me so much.  Coming from a priest, they were balm for my soul.

Thank you Fr. C!  We love you!  Thank you for opening you heart and hearing our cry!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

final draft of letter to priests about mother's day blessing

Okay, its final unless someone has huge problems with the few sentences I've added.  The new additions are in green.  Our parish is a Newman Center so I thought it would be important to acknowledge women who are healing from post abortion.  Also, I moved a sentence and changed just a few words.  Thanks for all the support with this.  I'm a little nervous about sending it but, we have 3 priests and I'm not sure which one to go to with a face to face conversation.  Plus, I want to make sure the message is conveyed in a coherent and charitable way and I think I'd be too nervous/emotional to do that in person.  No doubt, my friend who just had a miscarriage will be at Mass that weekend so I'm offering up my nervousness for her and her hubbie.  If you have any concerns about the letter, please let me know!

Dear Fathers,

I am writing this letter in regards to the annual blessing given to mothers on Mother's Day and fathers on Father's Day.  Over the past few years, I've become active in an online support group for Catholic women who are experiencing the cross of infertility.  While I myself have one child, I suffer from secondary infertility.  I'm in the unique position to receive the blessing and yet have a heavy heart for the children that are my heart's desire.   I also hear stories every year through this support group about how hard Mother's Day and Father's Day Mass is for those who are experiencing infertility, for those who have had miscarriages and for those who are single waiting to be married.  It's especially difficult when you
strive to* follow the teachings of the church regarding sex and birth control, are open to life and for one reason or another are not able to conceive.  It's even more painful when miscarriage is involved. Although I haven't personally read anyone's struggle post abortion, I would assume women who are at Mass on Mother's day and are healing from abortion would also be in pain.  While many of the women and men I know accept the cross of infertility and are open to God's will, the journey is hard and can be lonely. Would you prayerfully discern making the blessing more inclusive of all women and men in their unique vocation as mothers and fathers, including spiritual motherhood and fatherhood? The blessing can be an opportunity to help heal those who are suffering, acknowledge those living out a vocation as a single person and also support mothers and fathers in the thick of parenting living children.  The spirit of this letter is not meant to be one of complaint nor entitlement.  I am only attempting to bring to light a painful issue that can potentially marginalize the faithful.  I trust that whatever decision you make about the blessing will be in our best interest.  If you would like more information or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.  Please know you are in my daily prayers!

God Bless You!

With love,

made for another world

*didn't want anyone to assume I'm perfect in this area

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

First draft of letter to priests about blessing

Here is the first draft of the letter.  Please give feedback on content and grammar.    Be honest!!I wanted to keep it short and I didn't want to make a recommendation of what to say unless they ask.  I figure the Holy Spirit will guide our priests in writing the blessing if they so choose to change it.  Thanks in advance for your help!

Dear Fathers,
I am writing this letter in regards to the annual blessing given to mothers on Mother's Day and fathers on Father's Day.  Over the past few years, I've become active in an online support group for Catholic women who are experiencing the cross of infertility.  While I myself have one child, I suffer from secondary infertility.  I'm in the unique position to receive the blessing and yet have a heavy heart for the children that are my heart's desire.   I also hear stories every year through this support group about how hard Mother's Day and Father's Day Mass is for those who are experiencing infertility, for those who have had miscarriages and for those who are single waiting to be married.  It's especially difficult when you are following the teachings of the church regarding sex and birth control, are open to life and for one reason or another are not able to conceive.  While many of the women and men I know  accept this cross and are open to God's will, the journey is hard and can be lonely.   It's even more painful when miscarriage is involved.  Would you prayerfully discern making the blessing more inclusive of all women and men in their unique vocation as mothers and fathers, including spiritual motherhood and fatherhood? The spirit of this letter is not meant to be one of complaint nor entitlement.  I am only attempting to bring to light a painful issue that can potentially marginalize the faithful.  I trust that whatever decision you make about the blessing will be in our best interest.  If you would like more information or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.  Please know you are in my daily prayers!

God Bless You!

With love,

made for another world

Monday, April 23, 2012

Help with Mother's Day Letter to Priest

Hello all.  I kinda fell off the blog world last week.  Thank you for all your prayers for my friend.  This little blogosphere is a God send.  The support and understanding is amazing.

I want to write a letter/email to my priests about the Mother's Day blessing.  They usually have mothers stand and have the family put their hands on them as the priest says a prayer.  I know a few years ago there was a letter floating around on the blogs that others had written asking their priests to prayerfully discern a different blessing.  Do any of you remember it?  Links? Copies?  I'd hate to reinvent the wheel, but I will if I have to!

God Bless and have a glorious day!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sad News

Thank you for all of your prayers for my friend.  Her numbers are not increasing.  It's a sad day.  I don't know many details because our conversation was all about loss and grief, not why or how.  I feel like I've been punched in the gut.  I can only imagine how her and her husband feel.  Your prayers are what is going to help her to carry on.  Miscarriage is insidious and from the devil.  Only God can make something beautiful out of this  pain.  And He will.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Prayer Warriors Needed- Update

One of my closest friends just found out she was pregnant last week.  She's 40 and her and hubby have been actively TTC for 7 years.  They had just recently given up hope and began accepting their lives as they were.  They are a beautiful example of humbly accepting God's will.  Now she's spotting.  Has been for a week.  They go to the doctor tomorrow so there will be some answers then hopefully.  Will you please lift them up in prayer?  I'm so scared for them. 

St. Jude pray for us.

St. Gerard pray for us. 

St. Gianna pray for us.

St. Joseph pray for us. 

She went for the ultrasound yesterday and the doc saw a sac and took blood to check numbers and she'll have more taken Sunday to compare.  There wasn't a baby in the sac so the doctor said maybe she's earlier than she thought.  She doesn't chart so ovulation and last period aren't known for sure.  I'm still holding out hope....She is the perfect mixture of concerned and calm.  I'm not sure she's up for tons of intervention- I don't think she's 'there' yet if you know what I mean.  Here last words to me were, "it's in God's hands."  I can't tell you how much I appreciate all your prayers.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Guitar Man's Birthmother

We only know her last name from legal papers we received a few years ago.  His adoption was finalized well before open adoptions were an option.  Even though he was born before Roe v. Wade, I'm sure abortion could have been an option for her.  She gave her baby to an agency to decide who would parent him best.  Every once in a while I whisper 'thank you' to her.  After reading AIHPT's harrowing adoption story, I am moved to do more for her.  Really, all I can do is pray for her where ever she is.  That will have to be enough.  Guitar Man has no desire to search out his birthparents.

Adoption is such a beautiful gift.  Like most gifts from God, it is born from pain.  I have no idea what she went through- her thoughts, her feelings, her fears.  Did she hold him? Did she want to keep him?  Was she relieved when they took him away?  Whatever it was though, her courageous actions resulted in me being able to share my life with this precious man.

Thank you for trusting.

Thank you for carrying him.

His life wasn't perfect.

But, he's okay.  He's more than okay.

He's a beautiful person who does beautiful things for God.

Monday, April 2, 2012

We are obsessed

The Hunger Games have taken over our household.  I've had bronchitis so I had the opportunity to lay down and read Mockingjay in one day.  Then, I had the opportunity to google like crazy all kinds of reviews and interviews.  In a twisted way, I was happy to be sick so I could get lost in this world.  Hunger Games is the first book that AJ has enjoyed reading enough to read outside his 15 minute mandated daily reading time.  Guitar Man is tolerating this obsession.  He's more of a literary guy- right now he's reading Moby Dick.  I just heard him call our dog Cookie, Cook-niss.  HAHAHA!!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Something Beautiful for God

Guitar Man's first instrument is the accordion.  Yes- you read that right.  He has a strong distaste for the instrument of his youth.  It's heavy, physically difficult to play and it brings back bad memories.  But, every once in a while, he pulls it out and plays at a family gathering and immediately the mood is lifted.  He even played at my sister's wedding.  He played a special polka version of Hey Jude by the Beatles.  Anyway, twice a year, he's asked by the local retirement home to play some oldies.  He never refuses even though he doesn't want to do it.  I don't brag on Guitar Man much, but he is great with senior citizens.  He knows their music and cultural references of their youth.  They love him.  This is a sacrifice for him.  He does it with style and grace and I am so proud of him.

Excuse the blurriness of the pictures, our camera is not working properly- we are getting iphones in a few weeks- YAY!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Seven Quick Takes- Goal Weight Edition!!

I made my goal weight in Weight Watchers this week- YAY!!!  They give you a range to and I picked the highest weight as my goal.  I think some more weight will come off as I keep up this new lifestyle- maybe 5 more pounds.  We'll see.  Here are the top 7 ways I lost 20 pounds.  

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet
I haven't been perfect, but in general, I follow this diet.  Basically, no processed or fast food, potato, and tomato.  Lots of mushrooms and fish.  I've also taken out  dairy and grains.  I make lots of Paleo recipes.  Wellness Mama is my favorite.  Not one of her recipes has failed me. 

I'm trying to get better sleep.  I'm not perfect about getting 8 hours, but that is my goal.  I probably get more like 7 each night.  

I take 2 15 minute walks a day.  One is at lunchtime.  The other is after school.  I also do 20 minutes of hard cardio like swimming or running during the week.  I added this when a YMCA satellite location opened at a school one block from my house.  It literally takes me 2 minutes to run there from my house.  What a blessing!  On the weekend I do an hour long run.  Again, this doesn't happen perfectly everyday, but it's a goal.  I want to add some yoga stretches and weights for about 10 minutes in the morning, but haven't been able to squeeze them in yet.  

Going to a meeting every week
Food has been a life long addiction for me and facing it every week helped me chip away at bad habits and face the fact that I have a disordered attachment to food.

My leader
She is super encouraging and positive.  

My friend J
We go together.  She has some more weight to lose and I'll be going each week with her until she reaches goal. 

Learning not to be so hard on myself
This could be a post in and of itself.  But, by going every week, I had to fact the fact that I was so hard on myself that I didn't want to face the scale.  I was equating my worth with the number that is on the scale.  I've always had a hard time reconciling the fact that God didn't want me to be the weight I was, but he still loved me no matter what weight I was.  My all or nothing brain took a long time to wrap it's head around the fact that both could be going on at once.  I'm still working on it though.  Just like I'm working on the sleep and exercise and the anti-inflammatory diet.  It's a work in progress.  

If you told me a year ago that this is how I would lose the weight or that it would take a year, I would have laughed.  I never in a million years thought I'd find an hour a day to exercise or be eating such a limited diet.    I always hated walking.  People really can change.  I pray that He guides me through the next phase of maintaining these wonderful habits.  God is good!  God Bless you tonight.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Thank you from the bottom of my heart

Your prayers were felt!  For many reasons, I became burned out last week.

1)  Practicing for two weeks during lunch and after school for this:

It was the annual talent show at our school and the teachers always do an act.  If you watch (I don't expect you to!!), I'm second from left with hot pink boa.  We had a blast practicing.  Dancing is totally out of my comfort zone and I need my lunch time to be by myself.  In those fun personality tests, I always come out 50/50 introvert/extrovert so I have to be really careful to take time by myself.

2)  Meeting after meeting after school and before school.

3) AJ had a bad dentist appointment- he has 3 cavities in permanent teeth.  The child has a history of bad teeth and has had extensive work done on his baby teeth.  I've mentioned before that he had developmental delays as a younger child and this is a direct result of them.  He's got sensory issues with his mouth, low tone in his tongue and would not eat when he was born.  We had to have a feeding specialist come to the house for 2 years to help us learn how to feed him.  Even with that help, his diet is very limited and he's not getting proper nutrition.  Of course the doctor thinks he's fine because he's a good weight, his blood work is normal and he's generally healthy.  But, IMHO, he's missing key nutrients from foods like vegetables and meat and that has to impact his oral health.   He also has motor planning issues (he has to be specifically taught any complex motor task with great repetition).  Last time we saw the dentist, he recommended an electric tooth brush.  I never explicitly taught AJ to use it and don't check on him while he's brushing.  Big mistake.  He hasn't been brushing well.  Okay, I'll stop about that one...

4)  My main meal that I was going to eat throughout the week was a total FAIL so I didn't have a plan for several dinners.

I started eating fast food to compensate for my feelings of frustration and that is definitely NOT on the Anti-Inflammatory Diet.  This burn out feeling is new because it's always been buried under the crushing fatigue.  After I was able to identify what was happening (which took 3 or 4 days) and ask for help, it got better.  I went to Adoration for 15 minutes, slept in for a few days and just generally took off doing much around the house for the rest of the week.  By Saturday it was better.  I had to cancel a few plans for the weekend which always makes me anxious, but I got over it.

Sorry for the boring post- it's cathartic to write it all out.

Thank you again for your prayers!  You all are in mine each and every day!

May God Bless You!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lenten struggles- Prayers please

It happens every Lent.  I'm not sure if I'm under attack or it's just the time of year.  My Lenten practices are a total FAIL and I'm giving into temptation left and right- especially with food.  Can you please send up a simple prayer for me?  It's hard for me ask this!  Maybe that's the devil too.
God Bless you and thank you in advance.
St. Michael, pray for us!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday night jitters

Phew!  It's been quite a ride this weekend and my nerves are frazzled to prove it!  I haven't felt this way since the Great Adrenal Fatigue Episode of 2009.

Reason #1:  I spend 9 hours this weekend cleaning out the office I share with my dear friend.  We have shared this office for 12 years and she is taking the year off for medical reasons.  Our classrooms connect through the office and it's been great for our friendship and our professional relationship.  Teaching can be very solitary and sharing an office is very intimate.  Anyway, we have the reputation of having a messy office.  Our classrooms always look neat and orderly because we have a place to stash all the unsightly artifacts that working with children produces.  Our office failed the annual fire inspection.  Ordinarily, I'd be ticked that we have to move filing cabinets and bookcases that have been in place for 12 years and never failed any other inspection.  But, after saying the Serenity Prayer a few thousand times and going to through anger management training and after having been through the most ridiculous changes at school over the last 4 years, I've gotten used to surrender.  Even though I firmly believe there are too many chiefs and not enough indians (so sorry that is so not PC), I've resigned to the fact that I don't want to be a chief and am a lowly indian so I better just buck up and follow the directions.

Reason #2:  I had a cup of coffee this morning.   Haven't had coffee in months and boy, it totally revved me up today.

Reason #3:  Guitar Man told me right before Mass today that he saw an ambulance in front of our neighbors house as he left.  AJ and I go to Mass separately because AJ has RE beforehand.  My neighbors are the most wonderful people and I was so worried.  They are fine- it turns out the ambulance was for another neighbor.  G and L are in their late 70s and they are such wonderful role models to us.  They are immigrants from Germany. They grew up during WWII and came here with nothing.  G actually spent 5 years as a refugee in Norway.  They were housed in a prison (can you imagine?) and thought their father was dead.  The Red Cross reunited them and they moved here.  Anyway, they are just a delight and I am so thankful to God that they are healthy tonight.

Reason #4:  God, in His infinite mercy, gave me a surprising gift this weekend.  No, I'm not pregnant.  It's a gift I never knew I needed and am totally unworthy of receiving.  He affirmed me, He validated me, He used an outward sign to show His love.  It's a whole post in and of itself because it's complicated and layered and personal.  I've never done well with affirmation or validation.  So.  I'm just trying to let it sink in past the coffee jitters and speak to my soul.

May God Bless you tonight.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Infertile at 40

What does that even mean?  Does it mean I'm just experiencing the normal decline of fertility?  Or does it mean   that there is more going on like hormone imbalance, structural issues, endo, chronic infection etc.?

For the two years we've been actively trying to become pregnant, I've also been battling chronic fatigue.  When I first started charting Creighton, it was to become pregnant.  Then, after realizing how exhausted I was, the main priority of treatment with Napro was to fix the fatigue.  Through progesterone supplementation, T3 and dietary changes, the fatigue has lifted.  The questionnaire they have me fill out asks to give a percentage of how normal you feel.  I'm at 95%.

Now that I'm feeling better, I feel the priority shifting to becoming pregnant.  And as the months go by, my anxiety increases.  And honestly, because of my age, the hope decreases each cycle.  I'm not sure what the next step for us will be.  We went into this without wanting tons of intervention.  I don't believe God is calling me to go all out to have another baby.   By all out, I mean more meds, ultrasounds, lots more blood work, etc.  It would put too much strain on our family that has been strained by my fatigue for years.  I'm not saying that lightly- this is after much prayer and discernment.  Of course, I can't read the mind of God.  But, it's the current conclusion I've reached after contemplating the desires He's placed in the my heart and the duties He's placed in my life.  It could change next month.  Can you tell I've been reading Abandonment to Divine Providence?  Ha ha!!

I'll be emailing my chart to Peoria on the next CD1 which, by the state of my chin (2 zits- yes, zits at 40!) and sore boobs, will be in a little less than a week.  I'll probably visit the surgeon to see about a lap.  I would consider the lap because the doc said if I do have endo, it's important to remove it for general health reasons, not just to increase fertility.  But, other than that, I think I'm at the end of the Napro road.

I'm sad about the fact that I probably won't have another baby.  I'm losing hope that I'll ever be pregnant.  I'm increasingly anxious during the 2WW.  I didn't even chart this month after my period ended.  I had horrible CM  too.  We've been trying for 2 years.  But, I've been waiting for 10 years to have another baby.  Those eight years of waiting for my husband to be open to another child taught me how to handle this time.  It's not pretty.  It's not easy.  But, it is led by God with the knowledge that His peace is around the corner if I keep a grateful and humble heart.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

7 quick takes- Sunday edition

I just figured out that I can reply to comments on my blog through gmail. Duh!!! Just took 6 months to figure that out!

The super clean out of 2012 started off well and then hit a snag this weekend.  I did the 27 fling boogie each day on the garage and it's done!! Yay!  We can park a car in there now.  The garage isn't clean by any means, it's just picked up to get a car in there.  I don't have time to do the one hour of work this weekend because I totally overbooked myself.  I'm not happy with myself at all.  I have 3 social engagements.  Plus, I always have to work at school for at least a few hours so there goes all my time.  Hopefully, I will live and learn.  

I gave my maternity clothes to Goodwill.  Even if on the off chance I get pregnant, I'm not going to want to wear 11 year old maternity clothes anyway.  Even so, I was sad as I drove away.  

With the whole rythmn word I'm focusing on, I'm realizing how distracted I am and how hard it is for me to concentrate.  When I do finally get going on a task, I become super focused and it's hard for me to be flexible and stop or be interrupted.  This is good information for how to move forward even if I'm not sure how. 

I'm starting a laundry experiment that Lauren from Magnify the Lord suggested.  It's weird and goes against everything my mother taught me about laundering.  She would be appalled if I told her that I'm trying this.  You do a load a day of whatever everyone wore that day.  No separating.  Just one load of everything.  I just now got all caught up with the laundry so we are starting tonight.  I'll keep you updated.  

I am doing horrible with trying to be on time.  It's making me really anxious and frustrated because I'm late for nearly everything.  Not super late, no more than 15 minutes but, still, when you are trying to be on time an you are always even a few minutes late, it's frustrating.  I'm pretty sure it's related to #4 so if I can try to stop what I'm doing, it might help.  AAARRRRRGGGGG.  

My saint for the year is St. Roque Gonzalez de Santa Cruz and the little I know of him, I love him already.  He was a Jesuit martyr and I'm really interested in Ignatian spirituality so he is perfect for this year.  It doesn't seem like there is much info on  him so I'll have to do some hunting.  

Many of these quick takes could be expanded into posts.  I guess I have some blog post ideas ready!!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Clean Up Time

Well ladies, 2011 was pretty good to me because the crushing fatigue that has plagued me for years has lifted.  One of the thyroid questionnaires asks you to name a percentage of how much you feel like a normal person.  My original answer was 40%.  I'd say now I'm about 85%.  I don't have crushing fatigue but, I don't have any get-up-and-go and my libido is in the toilet.  In addition to the fatigue, I do give into laziness when I'm overwhelmed.

 It's time to come clean.  Besides our living room, kitchen and bathroom, our home is a disaster.  The bedrooms aren't horrible but, they aren't good either.  My closet is a shambles.  AJs room is bursting at the seams.  Guitar mans closet is despicable.  The linen closet, oh my.  Our basement is unbearable.  We have a laundry room, playroom, office and storage room down there.  They are dirty and disorganized.  I am super embarrassed when anyone has to go down there.  I have so many gifts to put away but, there really isn't any place to put them.

The other thing I really struggle with is being on time.  I have all my life.  I come from a family of late people.  The lateness stems from trying to do to much and not being able to prioritize or stop what I'm doing. word for 2012 is


Rhythm to me means:

living in the moment
moving forward
being positive
good timing
awareness of time
respect of time
learning from mistakes, not dwelling on them

To start, I'm targeting areas to organize and clean.  I'll do the following until I get through the house:

Flylady's 27 fling boogie each day
1 hour on the weekend
1 day per month (4-6 hours)

The areas I'll work on are:

Christmas decorations
nursery- we call it that even though it's an office :(
linen closet and vanity
guitar man's closet
laundry room
storage room
Guitar Man's office

I'm just going to organize and clean.  I'll worry about decorating over the summer.  This will probably take all year with Guitar Man's office and the storage room taking the lion's share of the time.  I'd like to take before and after pics to document my progress.  I come from a very clean family and I love things to be neat and clean so this is a burden for me and a source of embarrassment.  But I don't want to feel overwhelmed about this or it won't get done.  My goal is to look at each area in a very detached manner so I'm able to work in a rhythm.

As I was reading this over, it looks like Guitar Man doesn't do his fair share and believe me, he does.  He does all the bills, the grocery shopping and the yard.  He also does crisis management when when things get out of control which is why our main living spaces are organized and clean so we can live comfortably and have guests over.  He also fills our home with play, laughter and music.  We are going to work together on this, but I'm the manager and he's the assistant ;)

Now I have to figure out the time thing... any suggestions?

Dear Jesus, you want me to live an ordered life.  You've healed my body to a point where I can now take care of the material gifts you have given me.  Please help me remain calm and focused on you while I'm finding my rhythm.  Thank Dear Jesus for giving me my health and my home.  I love you.