Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ho Ho Hope You have a Merry Christmas and a Healthy New Year :)

Guess what?? We have snow!! Now some of you in the frozen tundra of the the midwest and northern parts of the country are probably rolling your eyes OR going yeah, AND...but...we live just outside LAS VEGAS...so as you can imagine..this is a pretty big deal. Besides that...it snowed over a week ago and we still have some lingering around. That is even a BIGGER DEAL!!! First of all, we get snow around here every few years...but it NEVER sticks to the ground. Last week....it snowed ALL DAY...and it stuck to the ground. In the area we lived, we had about a foot of snow. Because we never have snow, our local city department does not have snow plows so the roads were pretty hard to navigate. Also, cars do not have snow tires so everyone was slip sliding around OR getting stuck. Tom thought he was going to have to park at the shopping center around the corner from our house and hoof it home (about a mile away) but he kept at it and got safely home. The funniest thing to both of us (who grew up in Northern Illinois) was that the local schools (and MANY of the local businesses) decided to shut down the night before. Too funny!!)

Anyway, I really wanted to go out and play in it. I wanted to make a snowman! I REALLY wanted to make a snow angel but I was afraid that if I got down that I would not be able to get back up (my hips are REALLY bad these days!!!) so NO fun in the snow for me :(

I tried to take pics of the snow and/or video but my junk cell phone was on its last legs. (I am happy to report that Santa came early and brought me a pretty pink Katana cell phone!! It is just gorgeous!!! My old Razr was pitiful. It was being held together with scotch tape!!!)

Christmas is just around the corner. I am getting more of the "spirit" as it gets closer. I listen to Christmas carols and have watched a few of the Christmas movies which seem to help put me in the right frame of mind. On Christmas Eve, we will go to Mass , and then we have our "Christmas Eve Feast" which consists of lobster tails, basmati rice, and snow peas and pie from CoCos Bakery (the Lemon Cream Cheese!!) After we rest our tummies, we open up on presents (on Christmas Eve!!), and then go to sleep. On Christmas Day we normally have a big dinner.

As I read so many of your blogs, I am touched by the kindness of strangers. So many people have reached out and helped others in need this year--It really has restored my faith in people. (I was getting a bit discouraged about people stealing mail as I have been the target myself recently. How sad that our economy has become so bad that people feel they have to steal other people's packages/presents?? Talk about Grinches!!

Health Report: As I said--my hips are hurting. I need to go see my orthopedic doc to see if I need to get one of my hip replacements revised (OUCH!!) I slipped in the shower in November and it has really been hurting since then. Obviously, it isn't out the joint, but it is pretty painful. I had two different surgeons (one did the left hip and another did the right hip. The right hip is the one that is bugging me....so I am going to go see the guy who did my left hip....figured that his hip is doing better--his incision is much smaller and I have not had ANY pain or problem with that side whereas with the right side--I have ALWAYS had problems :(

What else?? I have been having lots of headaches but that is to be expected with CNS lupus. Sometimes my brain doesn't work right and I just get SO frustrated. I have to remember how far I have come though. I mean I was in ICU for 5 days after my stroke. I couldn't even lift my right side. My speech was slurred. I had to undergo speech therapy and occupational therapy so sometimes I have to remind myself to be more patient with myself. I am hardest on myself.

Oh, one more thing...thanks to everyone for their posts and comments. It always encourages me. Hopefully, I will be able to keep my website http://catholicgirl.faithweb.com/ updated more frequently (I did update December but didn't get any quotes which is probably one of my most visited pages) I want to hear more from you...give me your feedback...tell me how you celebrate Christmas? Do you open presents Christmas Day/Eve? (I know a couple who almost didn't get married because they couldn't decide on this--well, not really, but you know what I mean??) What are your feelings about the "Grinches" who have stolen Christmas and the "Angels" who have "given" Christmas?? I am looking forward to hearing from you!!

Lastly, I guess just remember the reason for the season...Jesus. He is the reason why we celebrate Christmas. It is His birthday we celebrate. At the kid's Mass, they always sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and I think that TRULY sums it up and puts it all in perspective!! If nothing else, just sing Happy Birthday to Jesus on Christmas :) Remember...the Lord LOVES to hear from us. He truly does. I know that you might feel silly singing Happy Birthday to Jesus...get the kids together...they will love it!!

And with that, I will wish you ALL a very Merry Christmas and a very happy and HEALTHY NEW YEAR. If you see someone struggling with packages today, hold the door open for them. If you see someone with a frown...give them a big smile. Show some kindness in the world. Be the CHANGE you wish to have in the world!!! It all starts with YOU!!!

Until next time...

Gentle hugs,


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Share Something Sweet

Ferrero Chocolates, one of the largest confectionery companies and a leader in the premium chocolate category, is fighting world hunger for the second year in a row through through their proud partnership with Share Our Strength, a national organization working to ensure that no child in America grows up hungry.
Through this campaign, Ferrero Chocolates has donated a lump sum of $150,000 and continues to make donations on behalf of consumers who get involved through their Share Something Sweet campaign. Here you’ll be able to share sweet messages via free customizable e-cards with all your family and friends. For each message sent, Ferrero will donate an additional $1, up to $10,000!
And if that’s not enough, for every person that joins the Ferrero Facebook page, “Ferrero Lovers Unite,” Ferrero will donate another $1 to Share Our Strength (up to $1,000)!
So stop by Share Something Sweet, send a free message to a loved one and help wipe out hunger all at the same time! It doesn’t cost you a thing and will go a long way to helping those in need

Saturday, December 13, 2008

December 2008 Merry Musings :)

Wow...another year has flown by. I can't believe how fast time goes by. Seriously. Where DOES the time go? I really do not seem to have enough hours in the day to possibly get all of the things done that I want to do...and really...I don't DO anything...LOL!

This time of the year can always be a bit stressful, huh? Everyone seems to be in a rush...the hustle and bustle of everyone and everything can be hard for people who like to have things in order or who live life by a schedule (raise of hands!!) Also, just the change of weather can be difficult for those who have chronic illnesses and can trigger flares. This in combination with any stress of a change in routine can give those who are sick a really double whammy of a flare.

I try to remember to slow down and appreciate beauty of the season. Everything seems so sparkly this time of year. Also, the very few times I actually get out my favorite thing to do is to watch the kids at Santa's toy shop. I just get a kick out of it..some of them are so excited...and then some are so scared--me--I remember being scared out of my mind--who was this crazy fat guy in the red suit?? But I also remember some sort of connection that my wish was going to get granted if I went and chatted him up so I very timidly went to talk to him.

As far as my health update, my last chest xray came back TOTALLY CLEAR. Yipee!! This means that I can go another six months and then I go get another one. As Tom says, though, it is ALWAYS something, because I do have some other health issues going on. I am having some problems with one of my hip replacements that I had done a few years ago. I may have to have one of them redone or "revised". I really don't want to because as the motto goes around this house...I try to avoid surgery as much as I can...LOL! SIGH. Oh well, I go to see my orthopedic doc in January so I guess I will know more then. (I am going to see the doc who did my other hip--or should I say my good hip--obviously--I don't want to go back to the doc who did the lousy hip!!) Also, I have been having some trouble with my brain. The neuro, though, told me that I was doing pretty good for someone who has a "hole in her head" (that is from the stroke) Seriously...he said that. I was like, ah, OK! But, I have been having horrendous headaches...but he said that is to be expected and that I should just be lucky to be alive and that most people who have had my kind of lupus and especially the extent of damage to the brain only live 2 years (and here it has been 8 years--again--AH, OK!!)

Well, that is it for the update.

Please have a Blessed Christmas and a healthy and happy 2009. I appreciate all of your comments and posts. They encourage ME so please send them in.

As always, prayers are SO powerful. Let them work wonders in YOUR life.

Until next time

Gentle hugs,


Monday, November 10, 2008

September 2008 Believe in MIRACLES :)

Wow:) I can not believe another year has gone by. This past year has been even harder than last year. I believe this year was all about just patience and truly believing in the power of prayer.
I had a lot of different health problems this year but the major one involved my lungs. For the past several years, I had a nodule in one of my lungs and after several years of having clean xrays/cts, my docs believed that the "nodule" was stable and we just went on to deal with other more "urgent" issues. In March, I developed a really bad cough at night and a few times it had blood in it. I went to the doctor and had a CT which showed 11 nodules in my lungs. (Yup, went from 1 to 11)
We left the doc's office sort of stunned, but then did the only thing we know that truly helps. We prayed and then we began to ask everyone AND anyone we came across to pray...and I mean...EVERYONE!! and ANYONE.
In July, I was scheduled to get a biopsy done. I was terrified. Before the procedure, it is routine to have another cat scan done so that the radiolgist can see if there has been any changes in the size of the nodules since the last test. When the radiologist came in, he told me that had some good news for me. He said that I didn't have to have the biopsy done because out of the 11 nodules, there were only 4 left and those 4 were in areas that were hard to reach. WOO HOO!! I was literally dancing around the table I was so happy. When the nurse took me back out to the waiting room to meet Tom, he was so confused because he thought the next time he would see me would be right before surgery but now, here I was, all dressed and ready to go home WITH A BIG SMILE ON MY FACE!!
The radiolgist told us to get another CT in six weeks and then follow up with my lung doctor. The next six weeks were so hard. Tom was never wavering in his belief that ALL of the nodules would be gone but I would sometimes have doubts. I just couldn't believe that maybe all of the nodules could be gone--I mean...I have had the one since 2003, I think, so I believed that at least THAT one would still remain...However, Tom believed without a doubt that the power of prayer was going to make the remaining nodules go away as well.
So, we continued to have the "Prayer Warriors" pray...and continued to ask everyone and anyone we knew to pray.
It seemed like forever for those six weeks to go by, but finally, it was time to go see the lung doctor. When we received the "all clear" news, again, I was just so joyful and told my lung doctor...it was from the power of prayer...and he said...you are probably right. Now, THAT is a good doctor!! Not one that says...no, that can't be...blah, blah, blah, science, this and that. He is just as amazed as we are.
So, again, the power of prayer. Please believe that it can work in YOUR life.
Thanks for all who have prayed for me and for Tom. Thanks for all who have taken the time to send personal emails and who have signed the guest book.
Hopefully, this year I will be able to update my site a bit more frequently (my goal is monthly but with lupus I have learned to just do a bit at a time...and sometimes not a BIT gets done. LOL!
Anyway, again...please let the power of prayer work in your life.
Gentle hugs,

June 2007: Remembering Our Heavenly Father on Dad's Day

Again, a blink of the eye...and whoosh...where does the time go??? Before I know it, Christmas will be here again!!
First, I must apologize for not updating my site more often but I just have not been feeling very well. I can deal with the general aches and pains of lupus but have some trouble dealing with the "brain" problems of the stroke. I have been having lots of headaches and when I get those, I just can not deal with the computer (or really much of anything...) and the past few months seem to be dealing with one "mini crisis" after another...nothing major...just little stuff...like falling down the stairs...breaking a toe...stuff like that...just enough to make life interesting :)
Anyway, I did want to write about Father's Day. We all, of course, remember our "earthly" Fathers on Father's Day...but, please, remember our "spiritual" Father...this Father's Day. Just a simple THANK YOU or an I LOVE YOU would be a wonderful Father's Day gift to the most loving and giving of fathers, don't you think??
That was really all I had to say...not much to report...have a WONDERFUL summer...stay safe...please be kind to one another...smile at someone today...DO a random act of KINDNESS....Spread LOVE into the world and love will return to you ten fold!!
Thanks TO ALL who sign the guestbook and to those who take the time to send private notes of encourgement.
Gentle hugs,

Winter 2006: Power of Prayer

The holidays are fast approaching. Blink fast and we will be in 2007 before we know it. Again, where does the time go by?? I haven't been on the computer much during the past few months. My health hasn't been the greatest--nothing major but it is the minor things that add up which just tend to make life MORE...hmmm...what is the word I am looking for...INTERESTING!! I guess.
My bones are so brittle from years of prednisone and chemotherapy that I am having lots of trouble with fractures. One wrong sneeze could result in broken ribs. Not a lot of fun if you know what I mean!! I didn't realize how badly my bones were until I reached down to play with our kitten and fractured my humeral head (which is the top part of the shoulder area) OUCH!! I have done that twice now. I need to have surgery on it but the doc doesn't want to do the surgery because of my lungs (and I really prefer to stay out of the hospital AND of of the O.R.!! if at all possible)
So, this is one of the reasons why I haven't been on the computer much these past few months...dealing with various aches and pains. However, I have to admit that dealing with this has deepened my strength in the power of prayer. PRAYER IS SO AWESOME!! It is truly the greatest gift we can give to another person...and it is FREE!!! I wish more people would understand the power of prayer.
There have been so many times in my life when I have been burdened and I have just "let go and let God". To do this, I realize, takes a tremendous amount of faith...but isn't that the "definition of faith"...believing in something or someone in spite of all else?? Everyone time I have given my burdens to God, I have been comforted and things have worked out. Sometimes I don't even realize that things ARE working out...but only later when I reflect on things...I go AH!! God does work in mysterious ways.
So, in this time of hustle and bustle, please remember the TRUE reason for the season. It is our Lord's Birthday. Make Joyful noise. St. Francis of Assisi said, "Those who sing, pray twice"...Sing those Christmas Carols LOUDLY and with heartfelt joy in your heart for Christ our Saviour was born!! He lived and died for our sins and will one day come again...so be ready...love one another...be kind to one another...and remember...God is ALWAYS there...you just have to ASK Him...invite him into your heart.
Please keep signing the guestbook. It keeps me motivated and lets me know that there STILL are people out there looking at the site which keeps me updating it each month:)
Until next time...May the new year be filled with peace, happiness, and good health,

Feb 2006 As Time Goes By....So Do our Lives!!!

Where does the time go? It has been almost a year since I have last checked in yet it seems just like yesterday. Why does time go by so fast as we get older? I remember as a child that those three months of summer vacation seem to stretch FOREVER! AH!! Oh well.
I sit here looking at a blank white box and a blinking cursor and think...what do I have to say?? What has happened over the past year?? In comparison to world events, our lives seem to be very tiny and insignificant. Our hearts continue to pray for peace and for all of those who are suffering.
As far as my health goes, I have good days and bad days. I continue to have my angels watching over me. This past year I had a very seriously high amount of my blood thinner medication (The docs and nurses at the ER said that they had NEVER seen a blood level that high before and had the patient not only alive but CONSCIOUS--and laughing!! I had to be reminded that it was a very serious situation :) Needless to say, I was admitted overnight but that was the first time in about two years that I had to go into the hospital. Again, my angels were watching over me.
I have good days and bad days with my health but I try to keep a positive attitude. Recently, I separated a rib and then my shoulder, so I have been in a lot of pain and that doesn't make things any easier...
Anyway...just thought I would check in...I have tried to keep the quote section up to date...but a few months I really couldn't get to the computer at all due to my health...but hopefully, I will be able to add some new pages or at least be able to update more frequently.
Thanks to all who sign the guestbook. This website is truly a labor of love and your comments let me know that someone is OUT there receiving this message.
Until next time...gentle hugs,

Spring 2005 Smile: It's Contagious:)

It has been so long since I have updated my blog. Since then, our beloved "Papa", Pope John Paul II has passed away. As I said on my web site, I truly felt like a bright light had been extinguished from the earth. He was just so very, very good...he just sparkled with radiance, goodness, and kindness.
However, I am glad that he no longer has to suffer. He was such an example to me on how to suffer with grace and dignity. I would see him travel around the world and continue with his work and handle difficult situations...and just be amazed. I will continue to use his as my inspiration. He will forever be in my heart.
As for my health, I had a bit of scare. To make a very long story short, my coumadin level was really messed up so I was bleeding internally (except I didn't realize it) Again, my angels were looking out for me, though. The ER docs and nurses said that they had NEVER seen a person with a PT/INR (a blood test) level that high before (and the person was still conscious) I was admitted to the hospital. (there were not enough rooms so we had to wait until they could transfer me up to the intermediate floor--sort of between ICU and the regular medical floor)
Our priest came to give me the sacrament of the sick. It was such a wonderful visit and really helped to boost my spirits as well. During the visit, I was getting a transfusion of "Fresh Frozen Plasma" to try to thicken my blood back up.
I was supposed to go from the ER up to the Intermediate Care floor but guess what? The next morning, my blood work came back, and my level had dropped down to a level where my docs felt comfortable enough to let me go home. YEA!!! The power of FAITH, PRAYER, (and persistance!!!) Ha ha!
Your guestbook comments and private emails continue to encourage and inspire me. I consider myself blessed to be able to share this website with you:) This website is truly a labor of love.
It is going to take me a while to update the new Pope's information but I am going to get it done so please look forward to that update. You can always get information at The Vatican Site http://www.vatican.va/phome_en.htm
Well, I should end for now. As always, I appreciate all of your guestbook comments and private emails and I always try to return each and every one (just remember to provide a return email)
Remember to SMILE at one another
Until next time.....
Gentle hugs and Peace,

January 2005 Happy New Year

Happy New Year. Did you know that Pope John Paul II has announced that 2005 is to be the Year of the Eucharist? I challenge you to find out more about the Eucharist this year. I encourage you to discover what does the word EUCHARIST mean to you? One of the best ways to refresh your cathecism is to help sponsor someone through RCIA (kind of like adult CCD classes only BETTER...there is a link on my site about RCIA which describes the process a lot clearer then I can ever attempt to)
Anyway...back to the greeting :)
Hope all who are reading this had a very Blessed Christmas. As with all of the world, our hearts are saddened by the terrible devastation of the tsunami and the continuing destruction it leaves behind.
We continue to pray with the knowledge that prayer is heard and that prayer is POWERFUL.
Thank you for each and every one of you who has taken the time out these last few months to either drop a private email or to write a nice guestbook message. These messages really help to keep me motivated to continue the website on the many days when I physically am not feeling up to doing much but whenever I start to work on the website I start to feel a bit better. I haven't been writing as many "updates" as my brain hasn't been working as well so I am really hesitant to try to write anything as I am VERY critical of ANYTHING I write. I try to just "let GO and Let God" and that normally will work. LOL! So, if you don't like what I have to say...you will need to have a talk with my superior....
Ah, well, one has to laugh, right. Again, keep the emails coming. I really enjoy to hear the things that inspire and encourage YOU!! If you have a favorite St. Therese saying or a favorite prayer, SHARE it. If you have a story about converting to Catholicism, SHARE it. You may just be able to help inspire another person out there. Just one person inspiring and helping one other person. That is what life and love is all about.
Well, I should end for now.
Remember...smile today at someone you don't know...hold the door open for someone who may need some help (I always appreciate that!!!) and treat everyone with the love and kindness that you would want others to extend to those YOU love.
Until next time,
Gentle hugs,

October 2004 Where Does the Time Go?

Greetings Everyone:
Again, where has the time gone? It seems like every year just goes by at warp speed. Wasn't just yesterday Christmas? It feels like it.
Oh well, here it is Fall again. I love this time of year. It is my favorite season. I really love it. I am a PUMPKIN LOVER!! I love autumn leaves. I really think I like ANYTHING to do with the whole FALL "scene". Although I never really enjoyed the dressing up part of Halloween, I always enjoyed the pumpkin part of it. Except of course, my pumpkins were always HAPPY pumpkins...never scary or ugly. HA ha! Then right after Halloween was over, the countdown to Thanksgiving was on. Then it was a quick sleigh ride to Christmas and New Years.
All of these holidays bring back such wonderful memories. Are there Christmas traditions that you still keep in your family? If not, why not blow off some nostalgia dust, and bring some traditions back to life?
The holidays are the perfect time to reach out to one another. I know, I know...It's only October now...but before we know it...the "Season" will be upon us so at least...think about it.
One more important thing, please remember to vote in November! Your vote IS important! Make sure you also review any measures or initiatives that are up for approval. Be an informed voter.
Lastly, remember...smile at someone...just because...you might change someone's life (truly) just by giving that person a SMILE!!!! Be polite....open the door for someone who may not be able to do it herself. She will be very grateful. (After all, wouldn't you want someone to open the door for YOUR grandmother, your sister, your mother, aunt etc??) The bottom line is that you will feel really good inside just for doing something so darn simple...things we should do more of without even thinking of it...but that's for another day....LOL!
Until next time, take care of yourselves.
Gentle hugs,

April 2004 Happy Easter

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter :) As always, where has the time gone between the beginning of the year and now?? I have the best intentions for updating this website yet it seems not only do days and weeks go by before I get to it but entire MONTHS go by. Wish I could say that I was having so much fun that I was losing track of time...LOL! Oh well, I must first say thank you to everyone who has written such kind guestbook entries and even kinder private email notes. Also, both Tom and I can not begin to express our gratitude for all of the prayers that we know are being said for us. We firmly believe that prayer is the greatest gift that we can give to those we care about so THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to all of you who continue to pray for us. We hope that you will keep all of those who are ill, disabled, or homebound in your prayers as well. Hopefully, I will be able to add some new pages to the web site in the next few months. I continue to be encouraged by those who stop by and leave notes in the guestbook. This update is rather short but not much to report. Gentle hugs and blessings to all:) Until next time,


January 2004 ...At least I was in church :)

Whew...it's been a rough couple of months. First of all. I hope each and every one of you has had a most Blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year. I hope this New Year is filled with love, happiness, good health and PEACE for all. (Not too much to ask, huh??)
I had a stroke on Christmas Eve while attending Mass. I guess if one is going to have a stroke...being in God's house is probably one of the better places. Fortunately, I didn't sustain too much damage afterwards. I did have to undergo a three day blast of steroids (UGH!!) and also have to take a third chemotherapy agent to try and get the central nervous system inflammation under control. (My lupus attacks my brain and central nervous system and the "chemo" helps to attack the lupus)
It is a bit harder for me to figure things out. I get frustrated a lot easier.
I am so lucky that God has blessed me with such a patient and loving husband. Sometimes I think that it is truly harder for Tom to endure this than it is for me. I definitely believe it is harder for loved ones to watch their loved one suffer. Moms want to "kiss it and make it better"...dads will go the distance to find what's "broken and "fix it" Husbands close their eyes and pray...let my wife wake up in the morning...just a simple prayer...nothing more...Well, you get what I am trying to say...I hope :)
Thank you to all who take the time out to send a note or who sign the guestbook. I really appreciate it :) My website is truly a labor of love and sometimes it is a struggle to keep it going but I just ask God to continue to direct and inspire me.
Please be kind to one another. Smile at a stranger :) Open a door for someone. Just treat others as you would want others to treat you...or your grandmother...or your daughter...
Well, I should end for now. Please keep us in your prayers.

July 2002 Becoming Golden

July 2002 UpdateHope that this message finds each one of you healthy and in good spirits :)Thanks to all who have stopped by recently and either signed my guestbook or have sent me private email. Your continued encouragement and prayer helps me more than you can possibly know!The past month has been pretty difficult. I have been in excruciating pain. I found out (after several MRIs) that now my spine is starting to degenerate because of the long term steroid use. I am sort of in a tough spot because my lupus is pretty viscous against my central nervous system so I have to take steroids; but at what cost?? Do I want to risk another stroke or just want as my bones pretty much turn to dust? Sorry...it sounds so depressing.A very nice man sent me a private email in which he reminded me to think of my suffering as being in the fire and becoming golden. Once, I started to envision that...it really did help! I am so blessed to be able to share my website with you because you guys help me in so many ways. I hope to be able to help you as well!At first, I was sort of wary of sharing my story, but now I know that it is God's will because so many people private email me to tell me that my story has touched their lives in a certain way.All I know is that if I didn't have faith....I would not be here today. I feel as if I am on a journey and I am glad that you are all journeying right along side me. I really believe that we all have our crosses to bear...we all have our sufferings...maybe your sufferings may not be physical...perhaps emotional or financial or even spiritual....whatever your sufferings, please place your worries in the hands of God and let Thy will be done. I am always amazed at the outcome whenever I finally just relent and say...Ok. God, I am giving this up to you! Sometimes the result is something totally unexpected but in the end...is exactly what I needed.Please continue to keep us in your prayers and I will continue to keep you in my prayers each night.Until next time,

July 2003 Hey, Stop squeezing me so Tight!!

Well, I guess I am going to TRY to get up to speed with the rest of the world and try to "blog" in hopes that this will speed up my website. If I continue at this rate, My story page is going to really S-L-O-W down the works...eventually I will have to start to archive OR blog...so I guess I will try to blog....you know what they say about teaching old dogs new tricks....so bear with me.Anyway, hopefully, this will benefit everyone...I envision someone out there with a slow connection grumbling...thinking...hrumph...this BETTER be worth it...and then thinking..I WAITING this long for THIS...LOL!As always, life is an adventure...so hang on, right? Lately, I really have had to draw on a lot of faith and probably the strength and power of all of the prayers that I know I have in my life. I remind myself what St. Therese said about "Jesus squeezing her too tightly" when she was in so much pain...and she would ask Jesus to stop squeezing her so tightly...so when I get to that point...I do the same...and somehow...it seems as if the pain subsides and I am able to bear it out.I have battled infections after infections and then found out I have kidney stones I have been trying to flush them out as any sort of procedure with all of my other medical conditions (and being on blood thinners, chemo, and steroids) is really not an option that I want to consider.Always an adventure. Life is never boring, huh??Remember to pray for one another. It truly is the greatest gift we can give to one another...and it is FREE!! Yet, think how precious and powerful it is!! HOW AWESOME it is!! Pray for someone today!! You will feel so much better! Promise :)Well, I guess I will end this blog for now.Until next time,Gentle hugs,Shelley

Spring 2003 B-R-E-A-T-H-E

March, April May 2003 Update: Where does the time go??? I have been trying to keep the "bare bones" of the site going...the calendar, quotes, and saints info current but haven't been able to really sit down and write an update about what has been going on with me. A lot of it is that I figure...who wants to hear about me??? Then I will get a flurry of emails from my wonderful cyber friends who keep track of me and who pray for me and who want to know WHAT is up?? Also, I have to remember that there are lots of people who do NOT send me emails but who may be inspired by something so I have to continue to try update. It is hard, though. Sometimes I feel like all I have to report is bad news but I just reread my entries and overall I think I try to end with a positive note and that is pretty much how I try to live my life so I guess that is good.Anyway, the past few months I have been dealing with lots of infections, fatigue, and just trying to recover from the hip replacement. I am getting around a lot better though but with all of the infections, etc...I still can not get OUT and about very much. Also, I am still on the oxygen 24/7 which is a major pain but, hey, I am not complaining...I like BREATHING...LOL!!!Tom & I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. For a lot of people we know, 10 years is NOTHING!!! Ha ha!! However, for a couple struggling with chronic illness, 10 years is an achievement!! We both are very proud of our marriage. We feel that we have only grown closer because of this illness and also we are so grateful (yes I said grateful) because we know that my illness made us turn back to God and made faith become the center of our lives.Prayer brought Tom into my life and prayer brought me into Tom's life...it's true. Prayer is such a powerful thing. Prayer is the greatest gift we can give one another. Tom says that prayer actually relaxes him. Try it. Pray for someone who is hurting. Pray for someone you love. Pray for someone who you may be angry with...just pray :)Until next time...gentle hugs and prayers your way,Shelley

Feb 2003 Fish Stick Fridays

Lent is just around the corner. What are your memories of Lent? Growing up and attending Catholic School (especially after Vatican II), I didn't really fully appreciate the meaning of Lent or the wonderful traditions that can be celebrated throughout the season. For instance, when I was growing up, the big question was "What are you giving up for Lent??" Sort of like a delayed New Year's resolution or something. As kids, we normally would give up gum or treats (some kids had bigger goals but the kids I knew stuck with the "old" routine) Of course, we had Fish on Friday. Yum...FISH STICKS! Always Fish sticks...unless it was payday for my dad and then we might get Filet O Fish from McD's. (And soon the no treats resolution for Lent gave way to the complete rationalization/justification (ha ha) that a Shamrock Shake from McD's is NOT a treat but rather a wholesome milk product. Yeah right!Now though I think of Lent not so much as something that I have to give up...but more of what do I have to give?? What is harder...giving up that piece of cheesecake OR actually doing performing an act of kindness and goodness....JUST BECAUSE (and doing it in the name of the Lord for Lent....of course, that part should just remain between one performing the good deed and the Lord because the one thing God doesn't like is someone tooting his/her own horn.Also, the past few years, I have REALLY thought about the Lord's Passion and especially the time he spent on the cross. I ached with him when Peter denied him, I cried when I thought of the disciples falling asleep..(he just asked for ONE hour!!!) Think of that...just ONE hour God asks of us....how many of us give him that ONE hour a week by going to church and hearing the word of the Lord?I hope that someone reading this will find it his/her heart to return to church this Lenten season and to be there on Easter to celebrate the Risen Lord!Lastly, I suppose I should give a health update. First of all, thanks to all of you for your prayers. The power of prayer is just AWESOME!! I had a worrisome Chest xray back in October and had to wait for three months to get another one to see if I was going to need further treatment. When I had the xray, the spot was gone! So, that is wonderful news. I still have to have oxygen though as my lungs are scarred and I have pulmonary hypertension from the lupus and myastenia gravis.I am getting around really good with my new hip...now I have a "matched" set. I haven't set off any detectors yet. LOL! I am no longer in the wheelchair, no longer using the walker, and use the cane for short distances out in public. I still need the wheelchair for longer times out in public due to the oxygen problem but still this is a pretty major deal for me.Tom thanks all of your for prayers that you have said for him. It is so hard to be a caretaker for a loved one. I have so much respect for those of you out there who are taking care of a family member. Please say a special prayer for all caretakers out there!!

January 2003 We All Have Crosses

Whew! I NEVER thought I was going to be able to update this website. First of all, thank all of you for being so worried about me! Yes :( I have been away from the computer as I was ill. Actually, I had to have my other hip replaced. In August, my other hip turned to dust (doesn't sound as painful that way..) I had to wait, though, until mid November to have the hip replacement surgery.Then in September I had a series of small strokes call TIAs...nothing really serious but still kind of scary...actually I think it was scarier for my poor husband than for me.During this, I developed a very bad upper respiratory infection (I already have difficulty breathing so any additional "problems" make it extremely challenging)I pretty much was not only homebound but was relegated to an area to the family room (I pretty much lived in the Lazy Boy Recliner for about four months) I was in SO much pain...I can not even begin to describe how painful it was...and not to be able to work on this web site was truly frustrating. I really felt cut off from everyone and everything.I just kept having to remind myself to put my trust in God...and sometimes that is hurt when it HURTS so much...but those where the times when I would just have to rely on faith alone or else I do not know how I would have lasted.Tom and I have had long talks...we all have crosses...each and every one of us. Crosses come in all shapes and sizes...they come at different times in our lives. Keep the faith and as always try to deal with anything you must face with grace and courage.As a side note, besides having health problems, I had some problems with my web server host...it took a few (ahem) months to get things straightened out but I think that things are now back to normal...so HOPFULLY, I will be able to update on a regular basis.So, keep us in your prayers and we will keep all of you in our prayers.Until next month...Gentle hugs,

October 2002 Gotta Have Faith...

Although on the screen it looks like just a bit of time has passed, it has been several months since I have been able to update the site. Life is never boring....is it? If it isn't one thing, it's another. People have always told me...God only gives you as much as you can handle...and I sometimes say...He must think I can handle a LOT!!!I guess I really don't think about how sick I really am (guess the word there is DENIAL...ha ha!!) I had lots of health problems in September which just continued to worsened into October and now here we are in November already! Next week I will be going into the hospital to have my other hip replaced (might as well have a matching pair :) Also, I have some sort of mass in my chest which is too small to biopsy at the moment but because I have been on various chemo agents for the CNS lupus there is a greater risk of developing lymphomas so my doctors are very concerned. All I can do is continue to have faith.How do people get through the trials of life without faith? I can not even fathom a second of this life without faith. Believe me, there are days when I wonder...why does it have to be this way? Why do I have to suffer like this? Why? Why ? Why?I am certainly no Saint! I wasn't sure if I should share my story "online" or not. It is very hard to do this...but the emails and guestbook notes encourage me as much as I hopefully encourage you. I feel very blessed to have an opportunity to not only share my faith with you but to also show that we all have crosses to bear..Yup...we all do. Every single one of us. Crosses come in all shapes and sizes. What is your cross? Try to bear your cross with grace, strength, and faith. Of course, we are all going to have cranky, grumpy days...when those days roll around...that is the time we have to really ask for more strength....more grace...and sometimes...that is when we really have to rely on FAITH.According to the dictionary, Faith is:belief in, devotion to, or trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proofPretty cool, huh?Well, that is all for my update for now. Please keep Tom and me in your prayers for prayers are the best gift one can give or receive.Until next time...Gentle hugs,

August 2002 Are you Still Reading This?? (LOL!!)

Whew...what a month! It seems as if I start off every update the same. I think to myself...geez...who would want to read this?? When I first started this web site I wanted to share my renewed faith and favorite web sites, quotes, saints, etc. I was really surprised when people responded so positively to the "My Story" page and whenever I am late in updating...I always get emails from my cyber friends saying...What is wrong???I hope that my story helps each person who visits to realize that we all have crosses to bear. Yup...each and every one of us. Even the person who looks as if they have the "world on a string....sooner or later...he or she will have to "carry the cross." I also hope that my story will encourage all to turn to God during the darkest hour. Some people feel as if God has forgotten about them...but God is the most loving of Fathers...He is just waiting for you to ASK him for help! Also, when things are going well in your life...remember to THANK God...because it is through God that you have those blessings! Sometimes I just like to stand still and feel the breeze on my face and the sun (just for a minute as I am very sun sensitive due to lupus and all of the chemo meds I am on)....Anyway, I just stand there and say Thanks, God!Some people ask me how to pray...that is easy...just talk to God! As Jesus says in the bible...the best way to pray is to go in a quiet room and just begin. He taught the disciples the Our Father...so that is always a good one to start with. I always feel you should just talk to God from your heart.I suppose I should update my health situation although it is not good news at all. My spine continues to degenerate because of all of the steroids I have had to take because of the lupus. It pretty much is...which is worse...the disease or the medications to treat the disease? My spine is very brittle and dry and has bulges, herniations, one dislocation, one compression fracture, a sprain/strain, and a host of other minor stuff. I am just getting over a kidney stone which was also brought upon by the meds (I have to taken whopping doses of calcium because of the bone loss due to the steroid usage so the excess calcium creates kidney stones...which are sort of painful!) My vision is getting worse. I can not track visually from side to side and if I try to read one of my eyes closes shut so I sometimes just wear a patch over the one eye if I am going to read for any length of time. My breathing, too, is getting worse. On top of all this, I have been battling various infections and between the pain and infections, I have been homebound for months--only leaving the house to go to the doctor. I have not been able to attend Mass for several months which really makes me sad.As always, Tom has been a wonderful and supportive husband. It is so hard to be a caretaker for someone who is so ill. Sometimes he looks at me and I can see how scared he is that he is going to lose me...that I will stop breathing...he wants to "fix" what is wrong and can't...and I know that is very frustrating.Please keep us in your prayers. Remember...prayers are the most precious gift you can give or receive...answered prayers are more precious than gold, diamonds and any amount of cash. As the saints would say, Storm Heaven with your prayers!Until next time,Shelley

July 2002 Becoming Golden

Hope that this message finds each one of you healthy and in good spirits :)Thanks to all who have stopped by recently and either signed my guestbook or have sent me private email. Your continued encouragement and prayer helps me more than you can possibly know!The past month has been pretty difficult. I have been in excruciating pain. I found out (after several MRIs) that now my spine is starting to degenerate because of the long term steroid use. I am sort of in a tough spot because my lupus is pretty viscous against my central nervous system so I have to take steroids; but at what cost?? Do I want to risk another stroke or just want as my bones pretty much turn to dust? Sorry...it sounds so depressing.A very nice man sent me a private email in which he reminded me to think of my suffering as being in the fire and becoming golden. Once, I started to envision that...it really did help! I am so blessed to be able to share my website with you because you guys help me in so many ways. I hope to be able to help you as well!At first, I was sort of wary of sharing my story, but now I know that it is God's will because so many people private email me to tell me that my story has touched their lives in a certain way.All I know is that if I didn't have faith....I would not be here today. I feel as if I am on a journey and I am glad that you are all journeying right along side me. I really believe that we all have our crosses to bear...we all have our sufferings...maybe your sufferings may not be physical...perhaps emotional or financial or even spiritual....whatever your sufferings, please place your worries in the hands of God and let Thy will be done. I am always amazed at the outcome whenever I finally just relent and say...Ok. God, I am giving this up to you! Sometimes the result is something totally unexpected but in the end...is exactly what I needed.Please continue to keep us in your prayers and I will continue to keep you in my prayers each night.Until next time,Shelley

May/June 2002 No News is GOOD news, right?

June is here...time for graduations, weddings, Flag Day, Father's Day, and lots of special Feast days in June to honor Jesus and also his mother, Mary. Check out the calendar section for the feast days.Congrats to all those who are graduating or getting married this month :) Also, special prayers to all of the dads out there for Father's Day. Visit the St. Joseph page to find out more about Jesus' father here on earth...St. Joseph was a wonderful man...not much is mentioned about him in scripture but just like Mary...he said YES to God and took care of Mary and Jesus (as so many men today do within their own families) St. Joseph is the patron saint of fathers (among lots of other causes such as a happy death, carpenters, etc)Again, I must thank each and every person who has taken the time out to either sign my guest book or send a private email. Also, I am so grateful for all of your prayers. I am so very blessed to be able to strength, inspiration, and courage from YOU!!I suppose I should give a health update but I am always a bit hesitant because nothing really seems to change or things get worse, etc...and I think...well WHO wants to hear that...but it is those moments when I have to remember emails or guestbook notes which encourage me to share my story...so I shall continue to share my story with God's grace (I hope!!) Anyway, I suppose if I look at things optimistically, I haven't been in the hospital in the past two months and for the past two years, I have been averaging a hospital stay every 60 days. LOL! I am trying my hardest to lower the prednisone but as I lower the meds, my lupus flares up so I get very tired and lots of pain and just a myriad of other problems...sort of like stabbing a hornet's nest!I just want to close by thanking my husband, family, friends, and my special email friends who have been so supportive and encouraging these past few months. Your thoughts and prayers help me to get through the darkest days.Until next month...Gentle hugs,Shelley

April 2002 Where Does the Time Go?

Hope all of you had a wonderful Easter Season. I was just remarking to a friend recently that time really does seem to fly by. It seems it was just Christmas and now we are headed into Summer...Mother's Day, Father's Day, Memorial Day, and all of the rest of the summer holidays. Remember when we were kids and the summer seemed to go on FOREVER???? Of course, now most schools are year 'round so I guess it doesn't seem that way to kids now....Thanks to all of you who continue to send me encouraging emails and prayers. You will NEVER realize how very important they are to my overall well being. There are so many studies out there which state that people who have strong faith and pray generally fare better during their illness. I firmly believe that attitude really does make a difference. People always say...how can you be so upbeat and positive....(well, I truthfully tell them that I have my moments as those who love and know me will tell you...); However, I really think that being negative, sullen, or angry is not going to make me feel any better and it will REALLY bug the people who are around me (who wants to be around a grouchy, cranky person????) Also, people ask how can Tom or I remain positive? The answer is the truest definition of FAITH. One must have faith to put one's life in God's hands. Of course, faith is combined with medical care and LOTS of education about one's disease. In addition, it is so important to have support from family, friends, and others.My health status hasn't really changed. My vision continues to worsen which really scares me. I am also getting a lot of my old central nervous system involvement symptoms back as I start to slowly go down on the steroids. In order to hopefully alleviate some of the withdrawal symptoms which can also mimic a lupus flare, I am now on TWO different kinds of chemo. Thankfully, my hair has started to grow back and doesn't seem to be falling out at such a rapid rate so perhaps this chemo is not as "toxic" as the other kind.In closing, I want to remind you that May is the month of Mary. How fitting that Mother's Day is also in May for as in says in the bible....This is your Mother....Mother, this is your son. I am paraphrasing here but Jesus says this as he is dying on the crucifix. I hope that all of you has some sort of Mother in your lives. Perhaps your biological mother is no longer a part of your life (due to death or a multitude of reasons)....I am sure that if you look at your relationships hard enough...you will find at least one (and most likely several) person(s) who fit the role of mother. I not only have my biological mom but also a Godmother, a special aunt, and several special friends whom I all think of as "motherly". Most special of all, though, is Our Heavenly Mother, Mary. I was going through a tough time a few years ago and my parents were on the other side of the country....I was quite ill and for a while the docs thought I might have cancer. I was terrified. I went to Confession and spoke to the priest who gave me some wonderful advice which I wish to share with you....he said that Mary is always there to intercede for us to God....Mary is our spiritual mother and once I thought about it...I really did feel so much better! Anyway, this Mother's Day, reach out to ALL whom "mother" you...and say a special prayer to Mary.Until next time,Shelley

March 2002 Thankful for all blessings..even suffering!!

Sorry it has taken me so long to update my site. I have had several major health issues to deal with since November. So many of you have sent me wonderful emails and guestbook messages of concern and prayer. As I have said to everyone who says that they will pray for me, prayer is the BEST gift to give or receiveDuring the past few months, I have been too sick to work on my website and my website is something that really helps to not only distract me from my pain...but it just fills my soul spiritually. My hope is that just ONE person who stops by my website each day will attend Mass or church, pray the rosary for the first time or go to an RCIA meeting to learn more about the Catholic Church. I hope that someone will be inspired to read about the Saints or perhaps plan a visit to Lourdes. Maybe someone will pick up a bible (hey, I think it is the most AWESOME book around and I LOVE to read....I definitely would take my bible if I was going to be on a desert island and could only take ONE book....the bible has it ALL!Easter is coming as we celebrate this last week of March...the holiest week of the Christian calendar. May the Lord Bless all of you! Reach out to someone this week...donate clothing or food for the homeless in your area. Be thankful for all of the blessings that God has given you!We all have crosses to bear...we all suffer. Perhaps, you do not suffer physically but maybe you suffer emotionally, financially, spiritually. People always ask me...how can you handle all of your health problems?? First of all, I must admit that I am not always optimistic and I definitely have my "moments"....however, my faith in God and the support of my loving husband, family, and friends help me get over the rough spots.I truly believe that it is harder for the people who love me to deal with all of this pain than it is for me to actually experience it. Does that make any sense??I suppose I should update my health situation. My vision continues to get worse. All the docs can say is that they believe it is from an autoimmune disease but they really can't say which disease. I had to have a hip replaced due to avascular necrosis (which means dead bone) which is caused by long term high doses of steroids. I still have to be on the oxygen 24/7.....and lately have been getting these horrendous nose bleeds (I had to be hospitalized in Feb. because it was so bad) I have been hospitalized five times in the past year....I am really sick of being in the hospital....and although I have a wonderful group of docs....I am SICK of seeing doctors!!! :(As always, I look forward to your emails and guestbook signings. Hopefully, I will be able to work on my website and have some new content. I have had a few months to think of all the things I want to include on my website so please check back often.Until next time.....Shelley

October 2001 Even in our darkest days...God is here.

I have thought a lot about how to start off my update this month. I feel the need to send out my thoughts and prayers to all of you as we try to understand how such evil and hatred can exist. It is SO important that we pray...I believe that prayer can overcome so much evil in the world. We must have faith that there is a reason for this and sometimes....when we are aching or suffering such horrendous pain or loss...well, it is just really hard to have faith. Just remember that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Even in our darkest days, God is there...you just have to let Him know that you need Him.As for me, so many of you wrote and asked how I was doing since I didn't really update for September. Thank ALL of you for keeping tracking of me :) I am still having some trouble with my vision. We went to see a top specialist at a major research hospital and guess what? I stumped even him. Apparently, I have tonic pupils but no one knows why and there isn't any treatment really available. The GOOD news is that it won't get worse. Also, right now I am dealing with a possible hip dislocation. All the years of being on corticosteroids are catching up with me.However, I am finding such strength from your emails and guestbook entries. You all keep me going. I really believe that this is God's plan for me and when I feel well enough to work on my webpage...my pain is not as pain. It really distracts me. Definitely a blessing.Today take time out to call a friend that you know who might be lonely or sick....check in with an elderly neighbor...hold the door open for someone...give your child, spouse, parent, friend a big hug...JUST BECAUSE!! .I promise you that you will feel SO much better. Lastly, take time out to feel the gentle breeze or feel the warm sun...or listen to the rain....just take a moment to REALLY feel the beauty that still remains. Together we can all make it a better world. Goodness always wins over evil!Until next month,Shelley

August 2001 Losing my vision but not my hope

August was a rough month for me (seems as if the past few months I start out the update this way...hmmm..need to think more positively :).....Anyway, my vision is getting worse (I have a rare disorder called Tonic Pupils) I am going to a big research facility next month so please keep me in your prayers that the doctor there will be able to help me. It is almost impossible to work on the computer at the moment because I can not see. This makes things very frustrating because my website is truly my life's work. As I have stated before, it is a labor of love and when I work on my website, I always feel more at peace.So, please continue to bear with me....I hope to add at least SOME new content monthly. I love receiving your guestbook entries and emails. They keep me going.Remember that there is always light at the end of the tunnel...and God is always with you!May the peace and love of God fill you, mind, body and spirit!Until next time...Gentle hugs,Shelley

July 2001 Pandora Box Has Been Opened and it's Not too Pretty.

July was a particularly brutal month. My fatigue is horrible and since I am taking chemo and high doses of steroids (although I am finally beginning to taper off of them which in itself opens a Pandora's box of other health problems....) but anyway, as I was saying, being on the meds make me very immunocomprised which means that catching what for most folks might just be a simple cold...for me it can have very serious consequences. As a result, I haven't been feeling well enough to be on the computer but for short amounts of time...and that is on a RARE day. Needless to say, I haven't been able to work on my website and as I have said before...it really helps me get through all of this. However, I have to try and remember that God is the Director here and when HE feels I am ready to spend more time on the computer, He will let me know.Your emails and guestbook entries continue to inspire and encourage me. I know that we ALL have our challenges and I sincerely hope that in some way I can reciprocate your generous support and offer YOU some encouragement.In closing, I really need to again say that I don't know where I would be if not for my strong faith in God (and my angels and saints which constantly seem to intercede on my behalf) and also thanks to my wonderful husband who always makes me feel beautiful (and that is a difficult feat right now as I have lost almost all of my hair due to the chemo) and still have the moon face and have gained weight. However, Tom, makes me feel as if I am the MOST beautiful girl in the world. There is nothing that he wouldn't do for me and I am most grateful for him. Thanks too for my dear friends who are always there when I need them and, last but not least, thank YOU all out there in the internet world for your prayers and encouragement.Hang in there and keep the faith.Gentle hugs,Shelley

Sunday, November 9, 2008

June 2001 Grace, Love, and Patience

Grace....what does the word grace mean to you? This past month has been very difficult for me physically, emotionally, and even spiritually...but through it all...I am constantly reminded of God's grace in my life. Before I became ill, I sort of took my life for granted...took my relationships with those I love for granted. Now I realize that the IMPORTANT things in life...well, they aren't even THINGS! Love is what is important...and patience. Again, before I became sick, I was so impatient...and through this experience, I have had to learn the true meaning of patience. I may not understand why I have to suffer but I put myself in God's care and know that He is guarding and guiding me. Sometimes that is hard and sometimes I get depressed...but then God will open my eyes and suddenly I am aware of a gentle breeze on my face or the friendly wave of sunflowers as they strain their "faces" to the sun.
Hopefully, this next month, I will have more energy and feel physically up to working on the web site. There are so many things I want to share with you...but I just take it one day at a time.
Thanks, all of you, for your continued prayers and emails. They help keep me going.
Until next month,

May 2001 Blessings, Blessings, Blessings

Blessings to you! May was a rough month physically for me. I was admitted into the hospital (again) Thankfully, due to my husband's quick thinking and by the Grace of God....I am alive. Apparently, I was headed for a coma due to lack of oxygen because of all of the swelling I have due to the steroids. I know my angels were once again watching over me. It has been hard, though, because now I have to be on oxygen 24/7 and also I am diabetic now because of the steroids and have to take insulin injections. As I taper off the steroids, I get more fatigued and with the added chemo that I am taking...well, let's just say that I am VERY TIRED! Unfortunately, this means that I can not work on my website and my website truly keeps me going each day.
Anyway, back to Blessings. People look at me sometimes like I am crazy when I say that I am very blessed. They think...how can she possibly be BLESSED when she is so very ill...but I am blessed because through my illness I have gotten closer to God...my husband...my friends. I have learned how to be patient...I have learned not to "sweat the small stuff..and it is ALL small stuff..." I have learned to appreciate the gentle breeze on my face and THANK GOD that I am alive to feel it. Take a moment today to count your blessings.....
Until next month....be kind to one another...
Gentle hugs,

April 2001 Sorry I have been crabby BUT...

This month has been very frustrating-physically and emotionally. My health seems to be getting worse each day and it is frustrating because my docs can not seem to agree on anything. Emotionally, it is hard because I just want ONE of my docs to say...this is what the problem is...this is how we treat it...day by day goes by and I wake up and do the same thing all over again....which is what EVERYONE does..I know...but I never know if it is going to be a physically good day or bad day...if I will be able to see, walk, breathe. When I started doing this updates, I felt a bit weird sharing this stuff with you; however, I get SO many emails from people that they enjoy this part of my website...or that it helped them in some way....so I will continue to share my story. Of course, normally I am pretty upbeat and try to smile a lot...but this month, I have been very cranky and crabby (and I want to apologize to my husband, first and foremost....he takes such good care of me...), but I also want to apologize to my friends. Please don't feel as if I am shutting you out right now...I just really don't feel very well...and am taking it minute by minute. Hang in there...to all who reading this....remember that God is always waiting for you. You just have to call his name. I PROMISE....he will not forsake you! Until next month, Shelley

March 2001 Where there is suffering, there are also blessings:)

March 2001...What a month this has been. It has been hard physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. I have been getting inspiration from St. Therese of Lisieux, though! I try to remember that there were often times when she, too, felt, confused and spiritually "arid" as she would say. I don't feel arid, really, but this month has been very hard.
The doctors think I may have something other than Myastenia which is causing the vision and breathing troubles. They believe that it is autoimmune in nature but they are not quite sure. My labs continue to come back abnormal and I am getting progressively worse physically so it is very frustrating as they can not attempt to treat the disease until they find out what it is.
However, blessings do continue. This month our Parish was fortunate enough to be graced with a visit with a priest who has one of Bl. Padre Pio's gloves. As you know, Bl. Padre Pio is one of my intercessors so this was just a thrill. Thank you, Mirla and Perla for your help at the Church. We also had a speaker, Susan Tassone, speak about the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Hopefully, I will be able to share with you in the coming months some of the things she spoke about.
Again, your letters and guest book entries continue to encourage and inspire me. Thank you so much :) Thanks, too, for the prayers. I know that they have helped me gain strength both physically and spiritually.

March 2001 Hey...Why are YOU smiling at me??

Today is the first day of Lent and I am trying to decide what I can do for Lent to show Jesus how much I appreciate his dying on the cross for me. I am still pondering. I do know that I want to try to be kinder to those I meet...even if it just means to make eye contact more and smile at those I meet...I really want to try. Of course, in this day and age, people are always a bit shocked when you take the time to smile at them..have you noticed that? LOL! Sort of sad in a way that we have become such an isolated world. Anyway, my health...I have managed to stay out of the hospital so I am VERY happy! However, the Myastenia gravis is progressing. I hope to be able to start some new medication in mid March that will help with the Myastenia Gravis so please continue to keep me and my husband too in your prayers. Your prayers and letters of support truly keep me going :) As someone told me, just think of it as Jesus squeezing you a bit too tightly right now. If I imagine that, then I feel better because I know that I am save in Christ's arms. Thank you for sharing that with me..and I hope someone else will also get comfort from that image. Until next month...may God grace your lives and comfort you...Gentle hugs, Shelley

February 2001 Let Go and Let God

I was admitted again into the hospital. I was diagnosed with another autoimmune disease called Myastenia Gravis. I was in the hospital for 10 days. Yes, I was scared especially after all of my blood levels dropped to dangerous levels. However, I asked God to help me endure the suffering and I gave it all up to him and as soon as I did that...I felt a lot better. Again, I do not know how people who do not have faith can endure such a test. I am overwhelmed by the love that God shows me every day. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as well as my husband and my friends and family who also are feeling very scared and helpless right now. Ask God to give them strength and courage. Your letters and emails continue to keep me going. I hope that I, in return, have helped each one of you that visits.... :) Until next month...Gentle hugs..

December 2000

I am still struggling with my health but the support and inspiration I have received from this webpage has just been incredible. Thank you SO much for your prayers and good thoughts. I know that each and every one of them have helped. Today I came across this little prayer so I thought I would share it with you. See A Prayer in Time of Need towards the end of this page.

(go to http://catholicgirl.faithweb.com/)

Click on My Story

November 2000 Surrounded by Angels

It is November 2000 and my health has taken a turn for the worse. I was admitted into the hospital ICU for a few days. It was very scary but one thing I wish to share with you is how comforted I was knowing that I was NOT alone. I knew that God, Mary, my angels, and all of "my" Saints were with me. I was also very comforted just looking at a crucifix across the room (I was in a Catholic hospital) The nurses all would comment how "brave or calm" I was..but truly...I know that it was just having faith in God was what was the REAL reason I was so brave.
Throughout my illness, I have been blessed many times. I have a wonderful and supportive husband, and friends who never surprise me with their love and compassion. Some of these people I have met through the internet and have never even met them in person. Yet, they continue to give me hope and encouragement. I thank you ALL!
My life has changed in so many ways. Yes, it is often challenging and sometimes very scary. Yet, I continue to have that faith in God and I know that He will take care of me. For those of you who are suffering or struggling, just remember that God is always there...even in the very depths of darkness, God is there..you just need to talk to Him.
My website keeps me going and I plan to continue working on it every month...so please..continue this journey with me...and if you have a chance...please say a prayer for not only me but for the family and friends who are always trying to cope with this latest setback.

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