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Prayers for my son, please – UPDATED

UPDATE (3/3/15): Noah’s MRI showed no damage to his heart valves or pumping function due to the inflammation in his heart (myocarditis). He still has a long way to go and is still in the Critical Care Unit, but this is a huge step forward in terms of his recovery. Please keep praying for him — and us. We can feel the prayers of so many people pouring over us. It has made this difficult journey much easier to face.
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Changing your meals from mindless to mindful

It’s not just what we eat but how we eat. Now and then it’s good to take a closer look at the method to our mealtime madness. Do we watch TV while we eat? Check email or Facebook? Argue with our kids? Stand at the counter? Fish our hand into a take-out bag as we drive? Read more

Counting my blessings

Last night, when I made my nightly rounds to each child’s bedroom before going to sleep, I found myself lingering longer than usual. Instead of quickly fixing Chiara’s covers or snapping off the light on Olivia’s fish tank or picking up the clothes that Noah had dropped on his floor, I just watched and listened and soaked up the innocence and beauty and wonder of the little lives entrusted to my care. And I imagined what Ross’ parents were going through at that same moment, maybe looking at their own little boy in a hospital bed and wishing that their biggest worry was a messy bedroom or an overdue library book. It’s amazing how a thought like that can put things into perspective and make you realize how fleeting life can be and how quickly it can change.

Sometimes, when I’m caught up in the day-to-day circus-like atmosphere of life at home with three busy and active children, it’s easy to miss those brief shining moments that sparkle like diamonds amid the dullness of the daily drudgery: the hug from Noah for no particular reason while I’m in the middle of making dinner, the “I love you” whispered into my ear when Chiara climbs into bed in the morning to snuggle before the day begins, the smile on Olivia’s face when I say I’m going to polish her nails or braid her hair or give her even just a few minutes of undivided girly-girl time. Back when Noah was younger, I would write down those special moments, as well as the funny things he would say and do, so that I could always go back and relive the moment, but now it seems I’m always too busy just trying to get through the day to sit down and ruminate on all the things that need recording. Even now, as I write this, Chiara is begging me to play with her, and I keep putting her off. Would I do that if I could see into the future?

At dinner last night, after grace, we told the kids about Ross and prayed together. Noah said, “I hope I never get cancer.” The immediate parent reaction is to want to reassure, to say, “We’ll never let that happen to you.” But it happens to people when they least expect it, doesn’t it, and we can’t make it stop and we can’t ward it off and we can’t make promises that we don’t know if we can keep. And so I told Noah, “We never know what life is going to hand us,” and even as I said it I quietly prayed that we would never be asked to bear the cross that Ross’ family is carrying right now.

Record the moments, even if only in the scrapbook of your heart, and tonight linger at a bedside and be thankful for what you have not been asked to bear.

Ross needs your prayers — now!

Ross, the almost-12-year-old cousin of a good friend of mine (and a good friend of this blog) is in round two of a battle with leukemia. He needs your prayers and lots of them, so please take some time today to send some blessings Ross’ way. In fact, you have my permission to stop reading this blog so that you can pray instead.

Your prayers are needed

Please, please, please pray for a little girl named Constance, who is 5 years old and is experiencing unexplained kidney failure in both kidneys. Please also remember her mom and dad, two sisters and brand new baby brother. I can’t even imagine what they are all going through at this time. I try to put myself in their shoes and just end up crying over the prospect that we never know what’s coming down the road and how helpless that feels, especially, I think, for parents trying to protect their children from anything and everything bad. The only thing it seems I can do at this point is pray, so I thought I’d call on all you good people to join me. Thanks.

The right way to ask for something

Chiara has a new way of asking for things these days. When she comes into the kitchen, she’ll say, “I want too much orange juice.” If you ask her how much milk she wants, she says, “Too much.” Imagine how useful this could be in our adult lives. It gives new meaning to the phrase, “Say when.”

I find it really cool how Chiara is clearly progressing to a new level of development. She’s starting to try out new language skills, new motor skills, new thinking skills. Just this weekend she started writing the letter “C for Chiara” and the number 1. She can also make an “O for Olivia.” It’s as if you can see the wheels spinning and the synapses firing in her little head. Truly amazing.

She is even growing by leaps and bounds on the bedtime prayer front. Now at night, instead of just running through our family blessing where we name all of our relatives and close friends, she wants “new prayers.” So far we’ve experimented with the basics: Hail Mary, Our Father, Angel of God. The first time I said the Our Father with her, we finished up and she looked at me and said, quite seriously, “That’s a good one.” Now she asks for what she calls “the Jesus one,” which is the Our Father. I find it really intriguing that she associates the Our Father with Jesus. How did that happen in her 3-year-old brain when I know I didn’t make that connection for her. Very, very cool in a spooky sort of way.

Feeling like I don’t belong

So I’ve been experiencing something I can’t really explain lately, something I can’t quite put my finger on, but it’s there and it’s real. I’ve gone to two meetings of our Cornerstone Retreat core team — we will be the ones who plan and present the retreat to the women of our parish next year — and for some inexplicable reason, I just don’t feel like I belong in the group. Now, this is not me being humble or me looking for encouragement or me doing anything except sitting in our spiritual formation meetings feeling totally and utterly disconnected. I have had nothing to say at these meetings — nada, zip, zilch, zero — and if you know me at all, then you know that this is serious.  I can make conversation with a post, so to suddenly find myself with nothing to say leaves me, well, speechless. Read more

Your prayers are needed

In the span of 24 hours, I have learned of two young mothers who are battling cancer. My heart is just breaking for both of them. Please pray for Kathleen, who lives in my town and has three children with her husband, Tom,  and Emilie, who lives in Minnesota and has two sons — one of them newborn — with her husband, Steve. Both of these beautiful and faith-filled women need your prayers and as many other prayers as you can round up.

Email your friends, put them on prayer chains, write them into parish intention books, think of them and say a prayer when you hug your own children and start to cry at the mere thought of having to face what they’re facing.

Emilie has a blog. If you would like to visit, click HERE.