Monday, December 22, 2014

My Christmas Letter...Probably better get the Kleenex ready...

So, I've never done a Christmas letter before. This probably isn't the year to start one, as most of this year was filled with heartache and pain. So, instead of sending one out to everyone, I thought I'd try just writing a blog post. Maybe it'll help me find SOME kind of joy this Christmas...

So, the year started out great! My mother, who had been pretty ill was stabilizing and even ditched the walker for a cane for a short time. I found out I was pregnant for a long awaited, VERY much prayed for, baby. We had a beautiful new house, everything was great! Then, it hit the fan. It started in April. April Fool's Day, to be exact. I started bleeding at 6 weeks pregnant. I had NEVER done anything like that before. I've always had an EXTREMELY difficult time getting pregnant, but have always done pregnancy beautifully (at least, until the very end of the pregnancy). Turns out, my progesterone was low, so I started taking a progesterone pill. Didn't help. After a few days, I got the dreaded phone call from my OB, saying we had lost the baby. I was (and really, still am) beyond devastated. We had a small memorial service in the backyard, and that was nice. Meanwhile, my mom's health started going back down.

The next month, May 13, we found out that we would NOT be getting custody of Chocolate Chip back. Not only that, but the visitation schedule would stay largely the same, and I'd have to pay more money. It felt like a knife to my already wounded heart.

In the beginning of June (around Father's Day), my mom suddenly looked to be on death's doorstep. Literally. She even had me call all 3 of her brothers (2 of which she hadn't been on good terms with in YEARS), so that she could see them and forgive them in person. All 3 came, said what they needed to, and left on good terms. 1 of them, who I had been close to as a child, is truly back in my life, and though he lives in St. Louis, I really feel pretty close to him and his family again, which is a huge blessing. We're actually planning on spending Passover with them this year, which will be lovely (in case you didn't know, my mom's family was Jewish, and this particular uncle is an Israeli ordained rabbi).

The end of June/beginning of July held 5 sleepless days and nights (in a row) for my mom and myself, as her disease had progressed to a terminal delirium (I think that's what it's called), and not only did she not appear at all tired or sleepy (no matter what meds we tried), but anytime I took my eyes off of her for more than a few minutes, she was getting out of bed and falling, or doing some other awful thing. She finally died in a peaceful coma on July 28 this year, warm, and loved in her own home, here with us.

The rest of the summer/fall was extremely busy, preparing for winter, and making changes to the house that we had been putting on hold, so as not to bother my mother who had become pretty sensitive to noise. We got a new fireplace, new windows, recently put 67 bags of insulation in the attic, and my husband finished the garage.

November came, and so did Charlotte's due date (November 23), which was agony. The memories and feelings of the day(s) we lost her back in April came flooding back. Of course, that was a Sunday, and so we went to Mass, and saw all kinds of pregnant women, and tiny babies, which did nothing for my increasing depression and anxiety. That Thursday was Thanksgiving. Awful. I survived it. The day after Thanksgiving was worse. My husband and the girls wanted to put up the Christmas tree and decorations. I wanted to die. I didn't know how I was going to face Christmas without my youngest child. Yes, child. I know that I had only been 6 weeks pregnant, but that baby was no less loved, and no less my child than my other 2 born children. I had no less dreams, expectations, and hopes for that child than I do my other 2. If we as Catholics, believe in life at conception, then why is it so hard for some of my Catholic friends to acknowledge that one of my children died??? I'm expected to be mourning my mother, but I have had some friends not even consider that I should be mourning my child too. I do miss my mom, and Thanksgiving was strange without her, as was Hanukkah (we celebrate 1 night of Hanukkah on St. Lucy's feast day to keep the traditions alive for myself and my children), and I'm sure it will be strange to have Christmas without her. However, the main source of my pain and dreading Christmas does not stem from my mother's absence, but from my child's.

December, thankfully, is nearing it's end, along with this awful, terrible, horrible year. Unfortunately, I still have 2 more holidays to endure first. Christmas is coming, faster that I'd like. Actually, Emma has the flu, started with a fever Thursday night, and has pretty much been on top of me, breathing, coughing, and sneezing germs my way the entire time. I've actually been hoping to catch it, so that I have a valid excuse to hide from the world on Christmas, but so far, nothing. Blasted good immune system... Anyway, I still have a few more days to possibly catch it, so here's hoping! After Christmas, is New Year's Eve. We normally spend New Year's Eve with the same group of families at the hosting family's house. I had been looking forward to going with my new baby this year, but now... To top it off, one of the families HAS a new baby, who was born just a week or two before Charlotte's due date, with the middle name the same as our boy name that we have been waiting to use. Thankfully, that is the grandbaby of the family, and that daughter hasn't come to the party in years, but still...I'm sure there would be plenty of talk and pictures to show. Thankfully, we haven't gotten the annual invitation yet, and I'm rather hoping we won't, as I know I'd be expected to go. One year, the hosting family went on some big vacation, and so there was no party that year. Kinda hoping that's the case this year, too. Anyway, I hope you'll excuse me if I have no "Christmas Spirit" this year. I'm just trying to survive the death of my mother, and yes, my child. Hopefully next year will be better. It can't (please God) be much worse than this year has been.

Honestly, if it weren't for my wonderful husband, I would probably be in an insane asylum or dead by suicide by now. He keeps me sane, and even gets me to smile and laugh. The oils are helping a lot too. But, I doubt I would have even cared to search for the oils if my husband wasn't the loving, supportive, caring, wonderful man that he is. He really got my attention when he told me he was worried about me, and that I should probably talk to someone (like a therapist). If he hadn't said that, I probably would have just continued my downward spiral until he was planning my funeral. Thanks to him and my essential oils, I am here, surviving, looking for hope and joy in the coming year.


I hope you all have had a better year than I have, and find the Joy that is eluding me this Christmas.
God Bless everyone, especially those who have been by my side, helping me through the worst year of my life.

Dana


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Another Essential Oil Miracle

As you might recall, early this year, Young Living Essential Oils helped me conceive little Charlotte Marie after only 2 weeks of use. Well, I'm not pregnant, but have an even bigger Essential Oil (EO) miracle to report.

Going into Thanksgiving without my baby or my mom was difficult. Immediately following Thanksgiving was killing me. Literally, killing me. Christmas decorations and commercials were constant reminders that Christmas would be here whether I could handle it or not. I couldn't get off the couch, it took every ounce of my being to not constantly be sobbing, and every time I was alone for more than a few minutes, I was sobbing. I even started having some suicidal thoughts. It was BAD. Then, Saturday afternoon, I asked some oily friends for help. They gave me a recipe that saved my sanity, and probably my life. There are other brands of EOs, and I don't know much about them or their effectiveness, but Young Living brand is what I use.

My antidepressant recipe:
In a 15 ml bottle, I mixed 30 drops of Valor, 30 drops of Frankincense, 30 drops of Peace & Calming, and filled with a carrier oil (I use extra virgin olive oil, because I always have it in the house). Twice a day, I put it on my heart and spine.

I also use 1 drop of Orange, and a couple drops of Stress Away on my wrists twice a day.

Cedarwood on the back of my neck for sleep.

Since I started using this mixture, I am smiling, joking, and laughing again. I'm ME again. It's nothing short of a miracle. I even put up all of our Christmas decorations with only a little sadness, instead of sobbing and wanting to gouge my eyes out. (Seriously, it was BAD)

I can't even begin to explain to you how bad I was doing, and how much better I am now.

I would like to ask prayers, however, for 3 (yes, THREE) of my friends who have suffered a miscarriage in the last couple of weeks. I unfortunately know all too well the heart wrenching pain they are experiencing right now, and I know that nothing physical can help them right now.

In Christ,
Dana


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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Finding Things to be Thankful For

On this very difficult Thanksgiving, I thought I would make a list of things I AM thankful for. So, here they are in no particular order:

I am thankful that I was able to care for my mom, here at home, until her last breath.

I am thankful for my 2 beautiful girls, who are both with me today, and healthy.

I am thankful for my little saint in Heaven, who I am sure is praying for me today and always.

I am thankful for my wonderful husband, without whom I would likely be in an insane asylum or prison right now.

I am thankful to still have a house, food on the table, and heat.

I am thankful to have reconnected with my uncles and their families. It's nice to feel like I have an extended family again. ❤

I am thankful that this year is almost over.

I am thankful for wonderful friends and their prayers.

I am thankful for our awesome puppy, Skye, who always seems to know when I need an extra hug or kiss. :)

I hope all of you can find some joy and something to be thankful for today, even if you have to look harder than you ever have.

Try to have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Dana


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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Happy Birthday, Charlotte Marie

Today should have been Charlotte's birthday (approximately). Needless to say, I've been having a hard day. Okay, a hard week and a crappy day, if I'm being totally honest.

Recap from the week:
Monday we had a smallish fire in the garage (smallish in that the house is still standing and everyone is okay, but we DID have the fire department out here), and the cat ran away. Thankfully, our AWESOME puppy (not quite 4 months old) took her leash in her mouth and took me to the cat, who was hiding in a bush behind a neighbor's house. Things were a little better until Friday. Friday, Emma and I were on our way to a field trip when I got pulled over because the plates on my mom's car were expired. Apparently the notification had gone to an old address, so I had no idea. Fun. Then, as soon as I got done talking to the cop, the low tire pressure light came on. *sigh* Turned out to just be from the cold, and a very nice tire man helped me air it up for free. Still... Then, that evening I found out that a friend of mine had just suffered a miscarriage. My own miscarriage came flooding back to me, and thinking about another woman going through that so close to my due date just broke me right in half.

Fast forward to today. My meltdown about the day really started yesterday, when I found myself sobbing in the shower. Thought I was doing fairly decently until it was time to go up for communion at Mass today, and I saw tiny newborns being carried by their mothers. I lost it. I managed to hold back the tears until I got back to my pew, but then they flowed freely. Even Emma, who struggles with empathy kept staring at me, and finally gave me a big hug. Finally made it home, and I'm doing better again now.

Anyway, I kept meaning to post, and have all sorts of ideas, but I have had close to zero motivation lately. It's just been a super crappy year, and I'm totally over it. Can we just fast forward to 2015 already? I'm done with this one.


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Friday, September 26, 2014

Where to Start?

Okay, so it's been about a month since my last post. I'm sure you'll understand why in a minute or two...

In the last month, we've started full-blown homeschooling, joined a homeschool co-op that meets for field trips the 1st and 3rd Fridays, started doing Little Flowers on the 2nd Fridays, Wednesdays we usually hang out with our other homeschool group, Thursday is adoration, ballet on Mondays, and that's just our usual activities. In addition to that stuff, we've also gotten a new fireplace, put the brick on said fireplace, turned my mom's old bedroom into our classroom, and Emma has a birthday coming up soon. Oh, and we're getting a puppy tomorrow. Wow! I'm exhausted just TYPING all that! Lol

Anyway, I also had my first meeting today with a naturopath/friend to discuss natural options to help me conceive again, and hopefully carry to term this time. I'm going to start various different vitamins and supplements to try to boost my fertility. Here's hoping!

I've been extra sensitive and weepy the last few days. As you might recall, I suffered a miscarriage this last April, and if I was still pregnant, I would be quickly approaching my mid-November due date. It's been hitting me hard when I see newborn babies and pregnant women. Well, not all pregnant women. Mostly just ones that I know are due in mid-November, or just look like they are due around then. It just reminds me of how I would be looking now. It also hit me hard on Wednesday, when I found out one of my friends is 6 weeks pregnant (I was 6 weeks when I lost Charlotte). My husband is awesome, but I can't really share my pain with him, because we can never get time to talk without Emma interrupting. Of course, he goes to sleep long before she does most nights, so that's helpful (not!).

Anyway, I'll leave you with happy stuff. Pictures of our completed projects:

From left to right (or top to bottom):
1: the fireplace (obviously)
2: our little altar/prayer area
3: bookcase with Emma's tadpole and cursive alphabet along the top of the wall.
4: teacher desk, chalkboard and turtle
5: futon for snuggling during non-writing lessons &/ stories.

Hope you've been well!
God Bless!

Dana


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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Here Goes Nothing!

Life is starting to calm down a little here. Mom's finances are now in my name, we've picked out and ordered our new fireplace and stone for the fireplace, Emma has started school (a couple weeks earlier than I planned, but whatever), and by next weekend we'll have painted mom's bedroom and begin turning it into our school room. We've signed Emma up for Little Flowers and ballet, and purchased all needed equipment and accessories for those activities. There's still stuff to do, but we're starting to see a normal life and schedule emerging.

So, yesterday afternoon out of nowhere, I got a STRONG urge from somewhere to start using my Progessence Plus oil again. As you may recall, that is the oil that helped me conceive my little Charlotte Marie back in March, who I then lost in miscarriage in April. Last time, I started the Progessence Oil, and about 2 weeks later, discovered I was pregnant. Just like last time, I'm about mid-cycle... I'm pretty anxious about it, and a little worried that I'll just end up miscarrying again. If you wouldn't mind praying for me during these next couple weeks, I'd really appreciate it. Please pray that no matter what happens, I maintain my peace and trust in God.

After I applied my Progessence Plus oil, I noticed the bottle was getting fairly empty. I started to just go online to buy another bottle, but I couldn't just buy another bottle without signing up for some kind of membership. So I just went for it, and signed up completely. I had planned on it at some point anyway, so I just decided to go for it. I can now buy whatever oils I need at a discount, which is great. So, if you live locally and need some oils, let me know! I might be able to send them places too. Not sure how that works yet.

Anyway, please pray for me.

Thanks and God Bless!


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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sitting Shiva

I can't remember if I've posted about my heritage before, so sorry if I repeat something.

My mother was raised Jewish, and my father was raised Southern Baptist. I was raised around both the Jewish tradition (at least partly) and the Christian faith. My being raised in that way, with Christmas and Hanukkah being celebrated side by side, is a big part of what led me to the Catholic Church (at least, initially). The first time I heard Mass on the radio (EWTN, found thanks to a bumper sticker on a stranger's car), and they read from the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Gospels, with a bit of very Jewish-sounding chant here and there, I knew that was where I was supposed to be. The more I learned about my newfound Faith, and the deeper I got, I discovered more and more of my Jewish heritage. I honestly never felt Jewish until I became Catholic.

When my grandmother died (my mom's mom) about 7 years ago, that was pretty much the last I saw of most of my mom's family. Then, about a month and a half before mom's passing from this world, we knew it was imminent, and she asked for all of her brothers. Surprisingly, all 3 of them came, made amends, and left on good terms. If you know anything of my family, you know what an honest MIRACLE that was. One of mom's brothers married a nice Christian girl, and they live in Georgia. Another one became an orthodox, Israeli-ordained rabbi and now lives in Missouri. The third one somehow became even more orthodox Jewish than the rabbi (or so it seems) and lives in New York.

Anyway, in the Jewish tradition, when someone dies, the ones left behind (at least, the family) "sit shiva". As my rabbi uncle explained it to me, "sitting shiva" means sitting in mourning for 7 days. During this time the mourning person is forbidden from going out or occupying themselves with anything other than remembering the one who passed away, learning lessons from their life and death, and reflecting on the family, its mission and meaning, how we might improve, etc.
Friends come and go throughout the day to "comfort the mourner" and in general to help them hash everything out and come to terms. In the morning and afternoon the synagogue's daily prayer services are held at their house!

Anyway, as part of this process, my rabbi uncle asked me to share stories with him about my mom, and qualities about her that I remember fondly. I don't know how typical this request was, as I was raised more Christian with a side of Jewish, but it struck me as very sweet. At first, I had trouble thinking of things to share with him, as I was still in "caretaker mode", and was experiencing more of a "guilty relief" (as Emma's godmother put it), than any kind of sadness at my mother's passing. As the week went on, and I thought of more things for him, and shared what others had said about her, I found I was getting back into "daughter mode" more. It really was a lovely, beautiful way of remembering my mother as more than my "patient" or "responsibility", but as the beautiful soul that God created her to be.

As I was sitting in Adoration this morning of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, I was brought to tears of joy and gratitude at the beauty of the last couple months, the many blessings that have already come from my mother's illness, how I was able to care for her until her last breath at home, surrounded by the love and prayers of so many people, and how our tiny, broken family has grown back together. I am so unworthy of all the beautiful gifts that Our Lord has seen fit to bestow on me and my family! I'm just awestruck at how generous He is!

Yes, at the young age of 33, I now have no more earthly parents. Yes, I miss the days I could call my mom, or go to lunch with her. Yes, I miss the free babysitting that was almost always available. But, I also now have 3 uncles again, I am left with a beautiful house in a wonderful neighborhood, virtually free of money worries, and the most beautiful gift of all: every time I start to even feel the slightest twinge of sadness at not having my mother, I feel this wave of warmth, peace, and love just wash over me, as if trying to reassure me that she is safe and at peace.

God is SO good! 💗💗💗


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Friday, August 1, 2014

Saying Goodbye

Since right after my last post almost 2 months ago, mom had literally looked like she was on death's doorstep, with one foot inside. All 3 of her brothers came, made amends, told her they loved her, and left peacefully. She had more than one set of Last Rites, and maybe a day or so before she was mostly in a coma, she was able to make a confession, receive communion, and make peace with our priest (she wasn't a huge fan). Then, this last weekend, she really started showing more and more signs of impending death. She started doing the "death rattle" pretty hard core on Saturday. Saturday evening before I went to bed, I wasn't sure she would still be alive when I got up on Sunday, so I did everything for her that I would want done for me. I prayed a Divine Mercy Chaplet with her, made the sign of the cross on her forehead with some holy water from Lourdes, and put a few grains of blessed salt in her mouth. Basically, I just poured as many graces on her as I could think of at the time. She actually still hung on until just before noon on Monday, when she took her last breath.

Believe it or not, this picture was only taken 2 summers ago. Crazy how time can fly by, and seem to drag on at the same time. The last month and a half or so, mom was totally unable to leave the house, and really couldn't be left by herself for long, so I was unable to leave the house unless someone came over, who was comfortable with all her meds and needs, which was rare. Poor Emma was only slightly less trapped than I was, as she would get to go places with Daddy occasionally.

The viewing and funeral Mass were very nice. Many of mom's friends, and several of mine came to the viewing to pay their respects. She had an old patient of hers come (she was a nurse for over 20 yrs), a couple of old co-workers, of course friends, her internist and nurse, our alarm guy of over 20 yrs, and one of my cousins who came down from Chicago. My rabbi uncle tried his best to come with his wife and 3 of their 7 kids (the others were at camp) from St. Louis, but traffic delayed them so much that they missed it. They just came to our house to visit with us until 11 at night. There was even a Dr that came from the Chinese Clinic that my mom volunteered at that came. Turns out, he actually knew my dad too! His kids took piano lessons from my dad about 40 yrs ago! That was so neat! Not many people knew my dad too. It's been almost 20 yrs since my dad died. Anyway, our group of homeschool friends got this beautiful flower rosary for mom, that hung in her casket. Apparently, there's some way to turn it into an actual rosary, using those roses!

The funeral Mass was just beautiful! Of course, it was sung, in Latin, done by one of our favorite priests ever, Fr. John Hollowell. He, of course, was WONDERFUL! He talked during his homily about how my mom really inspired him by how she really didn't care what consequences came from her search for Truth, and her bravery at admitting after one set of RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) classes, which lasted nearly a year, that she just wasn't ready to become Catholic, but instead, just started the process all over again before coming into the Church just over a year ago. Chocolate Chip, who had been really surprising me with how well she was handling it all, completely fell apart almost as soon as the funeral began. I had a hard time seeing her hurting so much, and I started to tear up a few times myself, especially when they loaded the casket back into the hearse. Mostly, I'm okay, though.

After Mass, Emma's godmother and several of our homeschool friends pitched in and provided a very nice reception downstairs. These last couple days, while exhausting, and emotionally draining, were beautiful reminders that, while our family (in the state) may be very small, and shrinking, our network of friends and people that loves us, is quite large. 💗

After the funeral, Emma went home with her godmother, and Chocolate Chip, Mark, and I went to Buca di Beppo, where we had a nice meal, and Chocolate Chip and Mark shared a "Colossal Brownie Sundae", which was...well...COLOSSAL!!! Because after all, chocolate fixes many, many things.


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Monday, June 2, 2014

Facebook Anonymous

This year, I gave up Facebook for Lent. The first week was really hard, but by the end of Lent, I would have been fine giving it up permanently, had it not been for this one group I was in, that had been a huge source of comfort and support for me during the last year or so, and had acted as a kind of family for me, which I so desperately want and need right now.

Well, recently, a woman I felt almost sisterly towards in that group got pretty nasty towards me over something I posted (on my own wall) about the Girl Scouts, and how my girls will never be involved in that organization. Not the first time I've lost friends over the Girl Scouts, and it probably wouldn't have bothered me as much, except for what happened next. I privately messaged a dear friend about it, the one who has acted as a very sweet, supportive mother to me this last year. I knew she was also very motherly and close to this other person, so I thought she might have an idea of how to diffuse the situation, or at least be able to get her to back off a little. She couldn't find the post in question, so I tagged her. It spiralled out of control after that, and she ended up not only unfriending me, but blocking me! I messaged my motherly friend, and she said that several of our mutual friends had unfriended her solely because she's still friends with this other person. I was still reeling from all that, when the next morning, I saw a post from another mutual friend of ours, that was blatantly attacking me about the same issue! All of these people involved were a big part of that one group that I saw as a family. That was the final straw. I posted a note about how I was leaving Facebook, made sure the people I care about knew how to contact me, and turned it off. I don't have the time or energy for the drama and added stress. My mother is actively dying, I just found out we have no chance of getting Chocolate Chip back, and I still think of sweet Charlotte often.
For now, I just temporarily disconnected it, until I can get a chance to get all my pictures and videos (HOW do you get videos copied off of Facebook?!?!) downloaded to a computer. Once that's done, I'm pretty sure I'll click it over from temporary disconnect to permanent. Even without the drama, Facebook for me, was a major time-suck, at times depressing, and at times, just royally ticked me off. Who needs that? Not me. I'm done. The people who really know me, know how to contact me, and those who don't probably won't miss me anyway.

Without Facebook, I've found more peace, more time to read, and definitely less stress and anxiety. I think everyone should at least take a short break from Facebook now and then. It really put it in perspective for me.

God Bless!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Wonderful, Memorable Weekend

Our beloved priest, Father Magiera, who moved to Arkansas last summer, was back in Indy for one glorious weekend to do the wedding Mass of a friend of his. We were fortunate enough to get him to come over and bless our house yesterday. It was awesome! While he was here, he made some blessed salt and a jug of holy water. He also blessed a crucifix that I got to hang in my room, a crucifix for Chocolate Chip's room, a couple pictures, and a statue of Mary that Emma brought him to bless.
As Father walked around the house, throwing holy water in every room and closet, Chocolate Chip carried the jug of holy water for him, and Emma carried the lid. It was so sweet! Chocolate Chip hardly left his side the whole time he was here. She missed him so much! Towards the end of his visit, he mentioned to us that the wedding Mass was at 3 pm, and that it would fulfill our Sunday obligation, and that it was a Mass, so anyone could go (we hadn't been invited)...
So, we went to the wedding. It was beautiful! I had threatened both kids on the way there, that they had better be on their very best behavior, especially since we hadn't been invited. They were pretty good, until right in the middle, when Emma lost yet another tooth (#5), and it bled, and bled, and bled. Of course, Emma is my hypochondriac, gets-freaked-out-by-the-tiniest-speck-of-blood kid. So, we had whining and crying. I rushed her out to the narthex, as we were sitting all the way in the back, right by the cameras and video equipment...of course, right? I got her to the bathroom to take a closer look, and the stupid tooth was flapping, and sideways, but WOULD NOT come all the way out. I knew it wouldn't stop bleeding until it was out, and I got her to bite on paper towel, so I finally was able to pull the stupid thing out. It still didn't stop bleeding for several minutes afterwards. What a mess! Then I was stuck with a tooth to hold (no pockets) for the last half of Mass.

 
 
Lol So, I had Emma whining about her tooth and that she wanted to go home, and Chocolate Chip was whining because it was almost over, which meant that Father Magiera would be leaving us again! Finally, I got Emma off of me in time to get a decent spot to record Father Magiera's beautiful "Ite Missa Est" at the end of Mass.

video
 
The video isn't the best, but the important part is his voice anyway. :-)
Hopefully, it comes through okay...
 
 
God Bless,
Dana

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Trying to Find Joy

This post is a couple of days late, but this is the first opportunity I've had to write, where I really felt up to writing. On May 13 last year, my mom attempted suicide, and that was also the start of her more severe symptoms. On May 13 this year, we found out we will not be getting custody of Chocolate Chip. The year in between was spent taking care of mom, packing up and moving two homes into one, and mourning a child. I honestly don't know how I would have survived the past two May 13's and everything in between without God's Grace and my wonderful husband with my sanity still intact.

Our big court date was supposed to be on June 6, and as far as I knew going into it, the mediation on May 13 was only a formality, and was going to just be a waste of time and money. I was not at all prepared for leaving that building with our decision. Anyway, I go in, and was relieved to find out that it wasn't going to be like anything I had seen on t.v., where everyone is in the same room, fighting over a table. We were in totally separate rooms, and the mediator went back and forth between our rooms.

While the mediator was off talking to him, my lawyer tells me that Chocolate Chip is doing well in school, isn't grotesquely overweight, and has friends. Her father doesn't drive drunk, or beat his wife, and while I should be proud of the changes I've made in my life, and how well I'm doing, I'd only have a 5% chance of getting full custody. So, rather than spend all those extra lawyer fees, only to end up where we started, I agreed to slightly more time with her during the year, a decent increase in time during the summer (starting next year), and I would pay more money. At the time, all I could see was that I had given her away, while I paid more money. I was heartbroken...again. I must say, though, I'm getting pretty good at juggling my crosses.

Today we went to Chocolate Chip's school for an event, and when it was time to go, I literally had to pry Emma off of her, and carry her out, crying. Then, we get home, and Emma helps me plant some flowers I had gotten for Mother's Day. She wanted to plant one on Charlotte's grave, so we did that. All while my dying mother laid down for a nap. See? Pretty good at juggling! *sigh*

So, my new project assigned to me by a wonderful, motherly friend that I met on Facebook, is to try to find some joy. Who knew joy could be so hard to find, and so elusive?

I've known mom was not going to get better for quite a while now, and I've had peace and been able to find joy.

Charlotte died, and after only a month, I've had peace and been able to find joy.

Now this. I'm more at peace today, but seeing Emma this afternoon broke me right in half. I'm working on joy. Any suggestions? I'm totally open to ideas!

Thanks for any prayers, and God Bless all my friends and readers.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Scapulars

For at least a year now, I've been feeling like God had put scapulars, most especially the Brown Scapular, on my heart. I really learned most about the Brown Scapular when Chocolate Chip was enrolled in it at her First Communion last May. I had also learned about the Green Scapular in searching for different tools to help my husband convert.

Every now and then, I would feel an extra nudge or a reminder about scapulars. A friend would mention that she had been thinking of getting one, I would see tell-tale brown strings around the necks of friends and fellow homeschoolers. Then, at the healing Mass that we went to, Fr. told me I needed to get myself and my husband Green Scapulars. That finally did it. The next chance I got, I went to our favorite Catholic bookstore, and bought 2 Green Scapulars, a Brown Scapular, and a new rosary of Our Lady of Sorrows (long story for another time). I then emailed my priest a couple days ago, and asked to have them blessed along with Emma's new crucifix she had gotten the same day (really cute, quick side note: she wanted a crucifix for her room, and when we were talking about where to hang it, she demanded it be right by her bed so she can pray with Jesus at bedtime. How sweet is that?!), and to be enrolled in the Brown Scapular.

So, today, on Mother's Day (what better day to give Our Mother the gift of myself?) after Mass, I was enrolled in the Brown Scapular, and am now wearing my crucifix and Miraculous Medal on my chain, and a brown scapular, and a green scapular. Fr. suggested possibly sewing the two scapulars together somehow, as they can get kind of unwieldy. Yeah, I'm getting that already...

Anyway, so the brown scapular was given to St. Simon Stock by Our Lady in 1251, and Mary basically promised him that whoever faithfully wears the Brown Scapular, lives chastely according to their vocation (married, single, etc), and prays the rosary daily, will not suffer eternal torment. Here's a good website if you want to learn more about it. This website offers free Brown Scapulars if you're interested. I've heard (not 100% sure if it's true, but sounds legit) that anyone, even non-Catholics can be invested in the Brown Scapular, but that only Catholic priests can (and are generally the only ones willing to) invest someone in it.

The Green Scapular has two general purposes: for conversion, and for healing. The priest at the healing Mass told me that my husband needs one for conversion, and that I could use one for emotional and physical healing. Well, since that healing Mass, I don't really feel like I need anymore emotional healing (seriously, it was like a miracle!!!), but I don't know how I am physically, so I'm mostly wearing it for that. Here's a great website about the Green Scapular if you want more information.

.....


On a very disturbing side note, Harvard University is sponsoring (hosting? I can't remember their exact role at the moment, but it's a significant one) a Black Mass tomorrow night. If you're unfamiliar with what that exactly is, it's a satanic ritual where the Catholic Mass is mocked and twisted. They take out any reference to God, Mary, or the saints, and put in Satan and the names of demons in their places. They also use a naked woman as the altar, and when possible, use a consecrated host (Jesus) in their unholy ceremony. Please pray very hard that this event will be cancelled, and that those involved in this darkness will find the Light of Christ before it is too late.

Some ideas to pray and make reparation for this atrocity could be to fast, pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet (Have mercy on us, and on the whole world!), pray the rosary, pray the St. Michael the Archangel prayer (St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the Power of God, cast into Hell Satan, and all the evil spirits who prowl about the earth, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen), pray the St. Michael the Archangel Chaplet, just PRAY!!!


May God richly Bless you, my friends!
Dana

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Healing Mass

My mom and I went to our local Catholic bookstore on Monday, and found out about a healing Mass that was going to take place this Friday at St. Luke's Catholic Church in Indianapolis at 7 pm. We were interested, but bummed that we wouldn't be able to go. Then, yesterday, Emma's godmother, and one of my best friends told us about the same healing Mass that would be held today at a different parish at 9:30 am. We were excited to go, even though none of us really knew what to expect.

My mom, Emma, and I went to this healing Mass that we thought would be about an hour long. We met a few people from our old parish there, along with Emma's godmother and her young daughter. The rather large church was about half-full. Mostly it was people who had brought sick loved ones for physical healing. Others looked fine, but who knows what emotional or spiritual state they were in.

Anyway, the priest was a little late, because he had been praying outside a local abortion clinic with some teenage volunteers who were also there praying for credit in their pro-life class at school. Once he got there, he filled the air with love and praise to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We sang songs, he told stories, we had Mass, he told more stories, he taught us how to pray the chaplet of St. Michael the Archangel. We went outside, he prayed over, and gave his blessing over a new statue of St. Michael. The whole time, he kept talking about how we're all in this great spiritual battle, and how if you could look at the sky with spiritual eyes, you wouldn't be able to see the sun through all the evil spirits covering this city. He encouraged us all to pray for our city, and to make it the holiest city in the country, and that we rename our city of Indianapolis to Holyopolis. :-) How awesome is THAT goal?!

Anyway, at some point during the whole thing (I think it was after communion), Emma asked me if she could go sit with her godmother. I said sure, and they eventually ended up going back to her house to wait for us, as both of our kids were getting restless.

So, after the prayers outside over the statue, we all went back in, and a nun there kept insisting that only the truly needy would be seen, and that the rest needed to try to go to the Friday time. Father was apparently getting tired, and wouldn't be able to see everyone. I knew mom would qualify, and while I had hoped for a blessing too, I thought I would just mention my needs to him in passing, and ask him to pray for us later.

Well, when it got to be my mom's turn, she asked to be able to do a quick confession first, and then be anointed. He graciously listened to her confession, and when he motioned for me to come back, he said that my mom has this saint all around her, and that it's a pretty new saint named Louisa Piccaretta. He said he wasn't sure why this particular saint was so attached to my mom, but that they physically resemble each other. I had never heard of this saint before, but I had someone write it down, so we could learn more about her later. Well, the nun, another person, and myself all laid hands on my mom and prayed for her with the priest while she held a small cross with some kind of relic or something on it. Towards the end of the prayers, the priest handed me the cross to hold, but then when we were finished, he walked away, and I still had the cross.

I went to give it back to him, and told him that I had just had a miscarriage about 3 weeks ago, and my husband isn't Catholic, and asked him to pray for us. I started to tear up while telling him, and nothing could have prepared me for what came next. It was the most beautiful thing I've ever experienced. He took me over to the tabernacle (where they keep the extra consecrated hosts - Jesus), and had me put my hand on the surface in front of the actual tabernacle while I told him everything he wanted to know. Were we married in the Church? No, I converted after we married. Am I allowed to recieve communion? As far as I know, yes. I always have. Had I named the baby? Yes, Charlotte Marie. What's my husband's name? Mark. He said he felt like my husband Mark had a connection to St. Mark the Evangelist. I said, yes, he had been named for the Gospel of Mark. This next part is where I completely lost it. I can't remember exactly when, but at some point before this next part, he had me touch, ever so gently, the edge of the tabernacle itself! I was barely able to speak through the tears when he told me that he thought our little Charlotte (who he said was smiling at me and waving to me from Heaven) was created for the sole purpose of being an intercessor for her daddy's conversion. Is that just so beautiful? He asked me to pray to St. Mark, Our Lady, St. Joseph, and I think he said St. Michael too for my husband's conversion. He also told me to get both myself (for physical and emotional healing) and my husband (for conversion) green scapulars. He also told me that a big part of what's holding my husband back from fully loving and embracing Our Lord is a deep,  hidden fear about his self-image. He said if that fear were removed, he would convert. Then he prayed over me, while I held that cross, then had me hold it over my abdomen while he prayed some more, and finally, he anointed me with some kind of oil related to St. Philomena.

I can't explain how wonderful it all was, and how much it helped us. It was such a relief to know that little Charlotte lived and died for a reason, and how to best pray for my husband. It wasn't until I got to the car that I realized we had been there for 4 hours. Time flies when you're being blessed, I guess. It was just so wonderful! ♡♡♡

God Bless You!
Dana

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Saints in Training

Today, in Catholic news, two popes, Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, canonized (declared saints) two popes, St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II. A very rare, very cool day. It's also the feast of Divine Mercy, the day we celebrate the Mercy of Jesus, and declare "Jesus, I trust in You!".
 
 
Anyway, I was thinking (dangerous, I know). When some of the great saints were alive, did they have any idea they were on the path to sainthood? I mean, there are so many saints who did and experienced miraculous things. They HAD to have known, right? I mean, there's St. Padre Pio, who received the stigmata, and could bilocate (literally be in two places at once). There's saints who literally saw and spoke to Jesus &/ Mary. There's others that could levitate while praying. How did they react when they realized they were becoming saints? Did it make them more humble? More modest? More eager to serve? Did they worry they would somehow screw it up, and end up not being a saint? Did they just want to sit and marvel and the Love and Grace that God was bestowing on them? I wonder. Then there's other saints who were cranky, and I'm pretty sure it's St. Nicholas (where we get the legend of Santa Claus from) who used to punch heretics in the face (I'm like 90% sure it was St. Nicholas, but I know it was one of the saints if not him). I love that image - Santa punching heretics...LOL Did the cranky saints know they were becoming saints too? Or were they pleasantly surprised when they arrived in Heaven?
 
How would it affect you, to one day realize you were becoming a saint? After all, we are all called to be saints, and to love and serve God with our entire beings. Most of us go about our lives, doing the best we can, hoping for Heaven, never really knowing for certain where we'll end up until we die. But for those who experience the extraordinary...
 
 
Just some food for thought.
Dana 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Everyone Goes to Church!

I've posted before about how active kids can be in loving Jesus. Emma just gave me a refresher. She was playing with one of our new neighbors today (the 5 yr old boy from the Jehovah's Witness family), and I guess she asked him if he goes to church. He apparently said no, and so she asked if his parents go to church, and he didn't know. She was explaining all this to me just now, and it was so cute, just how incredulous she was at the fact that some people don't go to church. She couldn't believe there's people in her world that don't go to visit Jesus. I tried to explain to her that not everybody knows Jesus the way we do. She argued with me (as only Emma can), that EVERYBODY goes to church. If only, kid...if only.

Can we imagine for a moment if EVERYBODY DID go to church, and I don't mean just showing up, but really went and were truly present for it? How beautiful would that world be??? Everyone would (I imagine) be much kinder, more charitable, just more pleasant overall. Ahhh...just thinking about it brightens my day. ♡

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Beautiful Poem from a Beautiful Friend

A wonderful friend of mine from Facebook wrote this poem for me after she learned of my miscarriage. Since I lost tiny Charlotte, I've been thinking of doing a collage or treasure box or something of the few mementos I have to remember her by. This would definitely be in whatever I end up making. This dear friend of mine is so special, she credits Our Lord with these poems, instead of taking the glory for herself. I love this poem very much, and will treasure it always. I share it here in case some of my readers have also lost a child (or children), as maybe this will give them some comfort too.
 
 
Dana
 
 
 
FOR MY FRIEND, DANA, WHEN SHE IS READY TO SEE THIS.

LOSS SO GREAT

THE PAIN THAT PIERCES
TO THE SOUL
O, LORD, I OFFER THEE

PLEASE TAKE MY HAND
AND LEAD ME FROM...
THIS PLACE OF AGONY

I DO NOT UNDERSTAND
THE PAIN
WHY LOSS SO GREAT MUST BE

YET IN MY SOUL
I TRUST THAT YOU
WILL ONE DAY HELP ME SEE

THE SORROW LURKING
'NEATH MY BREAST
I CANNOT BEAR ALONE

SO, HOLD ME CLOSE
REMIND ME, LORD
OF THE LOVE THAT YOU HAVE SHOWN

THEN I WILL RISE
FROM THIS DARK PLACE
INTO THY LIGHT OF LOVE

FOR I KNOW MY CHILD
IS HOME WITH YOU
IN HEAVEN UP ABOVE

THANK YOU, LORD

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy Easter!!!

Jesus Christ is risen today! Alleluia, Alleluia! The Lenten fast is over, and the celebrating begins. I hope you have a wonderful Easter season, and Divine Mercy Sunday next week!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday/Bad Friday

Well we (me, Emma, and mom) all went to Good Friday services at church today, and then went to the live Way of the Cross at St. Mary's Catholic Church this evening (see yesterday's post, Holy Thursday Pilgrimage). Good Friday services went fine, but the Way of the Cross was a major disappointment. First of all, it didn't get started until like 5:15. Then, it was entirely in Spanish, which wouldn't be too bad, since we all know the basic storyline, except that we couldn't hear hardly any of it, and I couldn't even get close enough to get decent pictures (even by holding my phone above my head). Then, I thought we were just going around the block with it, expecting it to last an hour, tops. We finally bailed during the 4th Station of the Cross, 45 minutes (and quite a bit of walking) into it. One bright spot is that we ran into a couple other homeschool families while we were there, so Emma got to hang out with her friends for awhile.

Here are a few pictures I did manage to get:
The Sanhedrin
 
Jesus being questioned by the Sanhedrin (and smacked - quite a lot!)

Taken to Pontius Pilate
 
"Barabbas, Barabbas!"

Scourging at the Pillar (tree)

Back to Pilate

"Behold the Man"

Carrying the Cross

One of the thieves carrying his wood behind Jesus - the start of a very long procession


Then, as if remembering what Our Lord went through, and that very disappointing Way of the Cross weren't bad enough, on the way home, my low tire-pressure alert in the car came on. We made it home, in the garage, got out of the car, and you could actually hear it hissing. Not a good sign. Yeah, the tire was completely trashed, and will have to be replaced (with what money?).

And, to top it all off, I walked a few steps in the house, and the necklace I ALWAYS wear (with my Miraculous Medal and Crucifix) broke. Can't be fixed. I might be fortunate enough to find another chain laying around the house. Although, with my luck lately, probably not.

Anyway, I hope your Good Friday went better than mine. And, yes, Holy Thursday OBVIOUSLY won favorite day of the year, at least liturgically.

God Bless!
Dana

Holy Thursday Pilgrimage

I've been Catholic for four years now, and I believe my first Lent as a Catholic was the last time I went on a Holy Thursday pilgrimage, and I remember thinking that it was my favorite day of the year. The next year, I think I was sick, and I can't remember why I couldn't go last year, but this year, I was able to go again with three of my friends, and it was glorious! Holy Thursday is definitely at the top of my list as favorite day of the year. I'm waiting to see how Good Friday turns out before I make my final call, though.

So, I started Holy Thursday evening with Mass in the Extraordinary Form, then we followed the Blessed Sacrament down to the Altar of Repose, spent a few minutes there, and then I met my friends in front of the church to start our pilgrimage. We waited a few minutes for some other friends of mine who were going to take my mom home for me, and get her settled. Then I, Emma, Emma's godmother, a friend of ours from our old parish, and a friend of mine from my new parish, her daughter, and her daughter's friend all went back down to start at our parish's Altar of Repose, and to visit the replica of the Shroud of Turin that my parish (Holy Rosary Catholic Church) is hosting this week, before continuing on our way to four other parishes in the local downtown area to visit their Altars of Repose.

This is only half of the Shroud. The left side shows the back of the crucified man, believed by many
to have been Jesus. In the center is the head, then the body extends out to the edges. In this picture, you can
see the hands crossed in the middle, with dark stains at the wrists, and around the top of the head.

A word on the Shroud of Turin first. If you live locally, you really should check it out. I've seen pictures of it before, and watched TV shows about it, but seeing it in person (even just the replica) is so powerful. It'll be on display until Easter. It's free to go look at (donations are accepted though), and there are several handouts about the Shroud that are also free. There are books and DVDs for sale, but there is absolutely no pressure to buy anything. They also have nails and scourging instruments on display that were used during that time period by the Romans. The times that the exhibit is open to the public is as follows:
Today, Good Friday: noon-6pm
Holy Saturday: 10am-6pm
Easter Sunday: 8:30am-2pm

Our first stop was St. Patrick's Catholic Church, where they had the most beautiful monstrance on display, and people singing praises to God in Spanish. I couldn't understand what they were singing (I do know some Spanish, but I was too enthralled with Jesus in that most beautiful monstrance and display to concentrate enough to translate much), but it was so beautiful. We stayed maybe 10 minutes there, praying, and then moved on to the next place.

Sacred Heart Catholic Church was next. It was the most beautiful church I've ever seen, outside of the cathedrals in Italy. The altar, the walls, the ceiling, everything was just breathtaking. I've decided that after Easter, I just want to go to one Mass there, just to be able to see it all again. We stayed about 10 minutes there too, praying at their Altar of Repose and then moved on again.

Next was St. Mary's Catholic Church (their website is down, but the address is 317 N New Jersey St, Indianapolis, IN 46204 if you'd like to go to the live Way of the Cross). Emma and I didn't pray very long there, as there was a wonderful marble pieta that we wanted to look at while the others were still praying. We went over to it, and Emma talked to Jesus for a little bit, gave His likeness a very sweet hug, and held its hand. Outside the parish, next door was a house (the rectory, maybe) that people were decorating with red banners. Two of my friends lagged behind on the way out to ask about it, and they said they were decorating it to look like Pontius Pilate's place, because tomorrow (today, now - Good Friday) at 5pm they were having a live Way of the Cross, starting there, going around the block, and ending inside the church with the crucifixion.

Finally, we ended at St. John's Catholic Church. By this time, Emma was starting to whine significantly about her feet hurting and being tired, but as it was nearly midnight, I wasn't too upset. We still stayed and prayed about 10 minutes there, before finally leaving and going our different ways.

It was such a beautiful night, even the weather was beautiful. I would highly recommend going on a pilgrimage like this to anyone.


God Bless,
Dana

Friday, April 11, 2014

Receiving Grace and Healing Tears

Exactly one week since my miscarriage, and I'm doing a lot better. I still have sharp pains in my heart, and tear up unexpectedly, but the pain is much duller, and the tears fewer and less frequently. Physically, I'm back to 100%, which in itself is a huge blessing. A friend of mine, who also lost a child at 6 weeks said it took her 3 weeks. From start to finish, it was about a week and a half for me. Looking back over the week, I think my healing truly began when I received Our Lord in the Eucharist on Sunday.
 
The tears started flowing the moment I received the Eucharist on my tongue, and they didn't slow until I had finished praying. I remember asking Jesus to hold me and hug my soul. He gave me such a lasting comfort and peace. I also remember telling Him no matter how much it might hurt right now, that He has my permission to give me any suffering or cross He wants to, as long as He makes me a saint so I can meet my precious baby in Heaven one day. I always ask to know the Will of God, and to always have the grace and the courage to follow it. Little by little, each day since then, I have gotten better. Today, I've done really good. I don't think I've even teared up much today.
 
Really, just today I'm suddenly in a place where I still think about the baby, and miss what might have been, but I'd rather not discuss it anymore, and if everyone would just go back to normal, that would be great. We've gotten 3 sympathy cards, and I got one in the mail today. It's nice, and I appreciate knowing people are thinking of us and praying for us, but I'm ready to move forward now. I just wish I knew how to get my mom in the same place. We went to a Catholic bookstore today, and while I was looking at something with Emma, my mom told the salesperson about the miscarriage, and the lady brought me two books about it to look at. I didn't even want to read the back cover. I just handed them back a little while later. I'm trying to move on, not dwell on it. Of course, it's only been a week, so I'm having a little bit of a hard time with guilt, thinking I should still be heavily into the grieving, and that something must be wrong with me that I'm so much better so fast. Of course, I did ask Jesus to help me, so maybe I should just be grateful.
 
Off topic, but I'm mad at Blogger right now. The last two posts I've written, it has screwed up majorly. I tend to write most of my posts on my phone, and when I go from writing to saving, a lot of times, most or all of what I've written just goes POOF, and I have to re-type it. For instance, this is the third time I've written this one. The first two versions were much better, I think, but for the life of me, I can't remember what I wrote. Oh, well.
 
Back on topic, I'm finally sleeping again. Last week, I was so upset about losing the baby, that I couldn't sleep, and before that I was so worried that I was going to lose the baby that I didn't sleep well then either (plus the frequent potty trips in the night). Last night, I don't think I even moved all night. It was glorious. Anyway, I have two last things I'd like to leave you with. They're two different quotes about suffering.
This first one is a quote from Jesus to St. Faustina about suffering.
 
The second quote is from Mother Theresa. I love this one from 33 Days to Morning Glory: "Suffering has to come because if you look at the cross, he has got his head bending down — he wants to kiss you — and he has both hands open wide — he wants to embrace you. He has his heart opened wide to receive you. Then when you feel miserable inside, look at the cross and you will know what is happening. Suffering, pain, sorrow, humiliation, feelings of loneliness, are nothing but the kiss of Jesus, a sign that you have come so close that he can kiss you. Do you understand, brothers, sisters, or whoever you may be? Suffering, pain, humiliation — this is the kiss of Jesus. At times you come so close to Jesus on the cross that he can kiss you. I once told this to a lady who was suffering very much. She answered, “Tell Jesus not to kiss me — to stop kissing me.” That suffering has to come that came in the life of Our Lady, that came in the life of Jesus — it has to come in our life also. Only never put on a long face. Suffering is a gift from God. It is between you and Jesus alone inside."
 
The one from Jesus to St. Faustina really struck me when I read it in adoration yesterday. I'm still trying to figure out what it means, but it must really be important, because I kept going back to it. If you have any idea what it means, I'd love to hear your thoughts. The one from Mother Theresa is just beautiful. And, of course, the book of Job is great in difficult times. I lost one child. He lost all of his children, and his house, and his health, and he still praised God! That is truly inspiring.
 
 
Praise God in all things, and He will carry you through the storms.
Dana


Monday, April 7, 2014

Tiny Funerals and Beautiful Friends

Saturday evening after dinner, everybody went in the backyard, said a few words, and since we didn't have a body to bury, we put a few mementos in a container and buried it. Emma had colored several pictures for the baby, Chocolate Chip wrote a letter, Mark put in his class ring, and I tried my best not to cry. Even my mom came out, and we set up a chair for her by the hole. It really was a beautiful little ceremony. I took some pictures to remember it by. I'd like to share them here. I've already shared them on Facebook, but some of them were so beautiful, they deserve to be shared as much as possible.

This is one of the drawings that Emma did for the baby.
It's a picture of her and the baby inside a heart (heart is upside-down), with green grass, and a blue sky.

This is Emma giving "her baby" (the closest thing we had to it, anyway) one last hug.
 
Chocolate Chip and Emma burying the container. We all took turns putting some dirt on it.
 
I think it did help some, having some way to say goodbye to our tiny baby. I just wish the baby had been old enough to have a face, and for us to be able to have had something to hold, even for the briefest moment. It would also have been nice to be able to be certain of the baby's gender. I'd hate to get to Heaven one day (God willing), and find out my Charlotte Marie was actually a boy. I guess we'll just call it Charlie. Anyway, as I'm sure you can imagine, I've been a mess. We had both been trying for a baby for so long when I got pregnant, and I had yearned for a baby for a long time before that. It just doesn't seem fair. My husband has already mentioned trying again. I'm not even close to ready yet. I don't know when I will be. I don't know that I'd survive this again. I'm barely surviving this one.
 
On a brighter note, I have the most wonderful friends around me. So many people have told me they're praying for us, that I've lost count. Many of those people are folks I've never even met in person. I've met them on Facebook, and they have become like family. One Facebook friend wrote the most beautiful    poem for me. I'll try to remember to copy and paste it here on Sunday. Another one of my very good friends, Emma's godmother, came over for awhile today. She brought me a tiny Jade plant clipping in memory of tiny Charlotte. The thought, and the plant are both so beautiful. I really hope I don't kill it. I have such a black thumb. ;-) Then, yesterday after Mass, a woman I had seen before, but never met came up to us, and said that she didn't know what was wrong, but that she saw we were upset about something (it was probably the tears rolling down my cheeks as soon as I received Our Lord in the Eucharist), and wanted us to know she's praying for us. How sweet is that?!
 
I know I'll get through this, and God willing, go on to have a healthy child, but right now I'm teetering between being numb, heart-crushing agony, and feeling empty. I've come to enjoy the numbness. It's far superior to the heart-crushing agony.
 
Since our baby was so very tiny, and I never got a chance to hold it, I went searching the internet for some kind of memento I could keep to remember it by. I found this thing on Etsy that looked good, so I ordered one for $5, but what I got in the mail today looked nothing like the picture. In fact, it didn't even look like an embryo. It was supposed to be a life-like, accurate sized model of a 6 week old embryo. It looked like a tiny shrimp. It wasn't even the right size. Seriously. I'm probably just going to throw it away. It was absolutely no help at all.
 
Meanwhile, I found a different website that has the same sort of thing. I'm considering trying again, but after the shrimp experience, I'm not so sure.
 
I think I am doing a little better maybe. I only outright cried once today, and snapped at Emma only twice. Poor Emma. She doesn't quite get it. One minute, she's saying stuff like "I'm glad the baby's gone, because it would be crying a lot", and the next minute she's saying "I wish I could kiss the baby (meaning my belly), but it's gone." She also doesn't understand why I'm still so sad. I explained to her today that I'm sad because my baby died, that it would be like if she or Sissy had died. She just snuggled up to me in bed quietly for awhile after that, and eventually went to sleep. I think she might have an inkling now.
 
You know, a week ago today, I was pregnant, and happy, and everything was right in my world. What happened???
 
Anyway, I'm off to my prayers and then bed.
 
 
Goodnight, and God Bless
Dana

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Top of My Wishlist: A Time Machine

Like everyone, I have a wish list. On it are several things. Some big, some small. All are things that can't just be done. I wish summer was here, I wish my husband would lead our family in the Faith, I wish money wasn't so tight. Most of all, at the very top of my wishlist, I wish I had a time machine.

If I had a time machine, I would go back to the very moment I found out I was pregnant with little Charlotte Marie, and get on progesterone. If I still lost her, I would go back to yesterday, when I saw a small figure in the bottom of the toilet and fish it out. I wondered before I flushed if that could be the baby, and I don't know how or why, but somehow I flushed before I was sure it was or wasn't. It was only after I flushed that I realized there had been a tiny string of an umbilical cord attached to it. Now, I can't get the image out of my head. How I wish I could go back, fish the baby out, and give it a proper burial. Why did I look in the toilet anyway? Why did God let me look? Why, if I looked, did He not hide it, or why did He only let me realize too late what it was? I'm not angry, somehow...at least, not yet. I'm just confused and devastated. I don't understand how God could finally grant us a baby after all this time, only to let it end this way.

I think I'm doing alright, considering, but it's hardest when it's quiet. Morning and night seem to be the times (at least for now) that the tears come, and there's just no stopping them. The way our house is laid out, my walk-in closet is off of our bathroom, with no other rooms around it, except my bedroom. I've found the closet to be my cry room. I go in the bathroom, lock the door, and go in my closet. Nobody can hear my cries in there, and I can pull myself together before anybody sees me, and gives me the pity face. The only better place I've found to cry is in my husband's arms. Somehow, just his arms around me give me so much comfort.

Please, if you would, just pray for us. Just for peace and understanding, and for me to stop seeing that tiny body every time I close my eyes.

Thanks, and God Bless.
Dana

Friday, April 4, 2014

Job 1:21

“Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go back there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!” ~ Job 1:21

I had more bloodwork done yesterday, and the dr called this morning to say the results indicated we had lost the baby. My hcg level had dropped when it was supposed to double. I'm supposed to go back on Thursday or Friday next week to make sure my levels go back to normal.

When we were discussing names for the baby, Chocolate Chip suggested Charlotte. I really loved that name, especially when paired with Marie as a middle name in honor of Our Lady. Mark hated the name, but now that the baby's gone it doesn't really matter anymore, so I'm naming the baby Charlotte Marie. She is in the arms of Our Lord and Our Lady now, being held and loved until we can get to Heaven one day. She will always be in our hearts.

Charlotte Marie, pray for us.

God Bless
Dana

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Low on Progesterone?

So, the dr called with my lab results, and my hcg (pregnancy hormone) level was acceptable, but my progesterone (the hormone that maintains the pregnancy) was low. How is that possible? My essential oil I use has progesterone in it! Anyway, my husband is going to get me a pill from the pharmacy, and in the meantime, I splashed on some extra Progessence Plus. Extra prayers are very much appreciated. Still spotting, but no cramping, and not heavy enough to get the dr worried, so that's good. I'm still worried, though.

Jesus I trust in You! St. Gianna, pray for us. St. Gabriel the archangel, pray for us. Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for us! God, please let this baby be okay! Amen!

Dana

April Fools? Not Funny, God!

If you're seeing this today or tomorrow, please say a little prayer for us. When I went to the bathroom this morning, I had a bit of brown spotting. I googled since the dr's office wasn't open yet, and it all looked very reassuring, but as this is baby #3, and I've never had that before, I'm going in this afternoon for bloodwork just to be sure. Then, repeat the hcg level on Thursday to make sure it's rising properly. The nurse on the phone repeated what I had read online, but it would sure ease my mind to have good labwork. We've just waited SO long for this baby!!! Anyway, maybe it's just God's not funny April Fool's joke? I hope so.

Thanks,
Dana

Friday, March 28, 2014

Modest Maternity clothes: Mission Impossible?

In an effort to minimize the impact on our finances, I've started shopping for maternity clothes now, so I won't have to go on a massive shopping spree all at once. Of, course, I'm only like 6 weeks, but I'm already developing a little baby bump (why???), and I DO have clothes from my other two pregnancies, but those were before I really had learned about the importance of modesty, especially while pregnant (when the Hand of God is actively working within to form the baby). Anyway, I've been converting some of my maternity pants into skirts (I've made 3 so far), but am seriously lacking in the tops category.

So, I've been looking online at different maternity websites. Most of what I've found is pants, really low-cut tops, and either sweaters or tank tops, or barely-there short sleeve tops. *sigh* Then, I found this website called Lilo Maternity that actually calls itself modest maternity! Yay! They have long skirts, 3/4 length sleeves, and even a 3/4 length shell to go under less modest t-shirts you might already have! Now, if only there were more options for solid color 3/4 length sleeve t-shirts. Why must they all have a pattern?  In the meantime, I'll at least have something appropriate to wear to Mass and court in June. :-)

Please let me know if you find a website or know of a store where you can buy (for under $30? - why are maternity clothes SO expensive?!) 3/4 length sleeve solid color maternity shirts!

Dana

Monday, March 24, 2014

More Exciting News!

We haven't heard our beloved Fr. Magiera's voice since he left Indiana for Arkansas last July, and with all the excitement here recently, we decided to call him tonight. It was SO WONDERFUL to hear his voice! My mom, Emma and I all talked to him on speakerphone, and after my mom talked for awhile, it was Emma's turn. Then, I mentioned to him that Emma had given up sucking her thumb for Lent, and it wasn't going well at all. Without missing a beat, he told her that when she sucks her thumb, it makes Our Lady disappointed, because she loves us all so much, and when Emma wants to suck her thumb, she should pray a Hail Mary instead, and ask Mary to help her. So beautiful! When he finished, Emma was in tears, and I explained how devoted Emma is to Our Lady, and how she often goes to her statue and prays while I recieve communion. He couldn't have said anything more perfectly suited to her, and we haven't seen him or talked to him since July! Emma got Fr. Magiera'd over the phone from Arkansas! ROFL!

On an equally awesome side note, he's coming back to Indy in May for a wedding, and promised to call while he's in town so we can see him, and it's even on a weekend we'll have Chocolate Chip! She'll be ecstatic when she finds out! I've already put it in my calendar! Can't wait to hug him! :-D

God Bless Fr. Magiera and all our priests! Keep them safe, and help them to grow in holiness, so they can lead their flocks to Heaven! Amen.

Dana

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Light in the Darkness

In the dark, depressing, often stressful world that is my life these days, we now have a very bright light shining. A long awaited, much prayed for baby is on the way!!! The girls are both ecstatic to be big sisters, especially Emma, who I'm pretty sure prayed for this to happen even more than I did. It was so cute, the first time both girls were talking about the baby, Chocolate Chip was telling Emma, that she's Emma's big sister, and Emma will be the baby's big sister, and then I pointed out that Chocolate Chip will be big sister to both of them. Emma got SUPER posessive of her microscopic baby, and said "No, I'M the baby's big sister, not YOU!!!" Oh, my.

So, crazy story: I've posted before about how I'm a "crunchy" mommy, into homeschooling, essential oils, etc. Well, after 9-10 months of actively trying unsuccessfully to concieve, I asked one of my two oil suppliers if she had anything to help me concieve. She suggested I get Progessence Plus from Young Living (online for $50, but I get it from her at cost for $37.50). No joke. Just over 2 weeks of putting 2-4 drops on my arms and neck twice a day, and I'm PREGNANT!!!!!



I just stared at the positive pregnancy test in shock, disbelief, and excitement. My husband and mom have already plastered the news on Facebook (of course it HAD to be THIS Lent, that I give up Facebook! LOL), so I figured, I might as well share the news here too. Despite being more tired, peeing constantly, and the heavier, more tender boobs, it still feels surreal. It probably won't feel really real until the first ultrasound, which is on my dad's birthday (pretty neat - maybe a gift from him, in Heaven?). Anyway, we're all just so excited!

 
Angel in the Waters

We got Emma a new book today at our new favorite Catholic bookstore called Angel in the Waters. It's about baby's development from conception to about 6 months after birth (going by the pictures) from baby's perspective. The pictures and the wording are just breathtaking! I may be hormonal, but I fight tears every time I read it to Emma. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has kids.


All Praise and Glory to Him!
Dana

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ahhhh...Adoration!!

 
My parish has this wonderful, new, weekly mom's group that starts with free babysitting and an hour of adoration, followed by coffee, snacks, and hanging out with the other moms. I went two weeks ago for my first real time at adoration (for more than 5 minutes of clock-watching, kid-whining, trying desperately to concentrate and pray), and couldn't go last week, but I did get to go this morning. It. Was. Glorious!!!
 
The first time I went was wonderful enough, and we were pretty much the only ones that came that week, so it was "just" the free babysitting and adoration. Today was our first time with the full experience. I didn't want to leave! It was literally Heaven on earth!
 
First, was adoration. Me, my mom, and about 6 of my friends went and just spent an hour with Jesus. I sat, and just talked to Jesus, prayed a rosary, sat quietly to see if He wanted to tell me anything, and read some of a book. The book, Consoling the Heart of Jesus, talks a lot about how Jesus just wants us to love Him, and keeping Him company, so I love reading it at adoration.



The rosary (follow that link for an informative article about the rosary), for my non-Catholic friends and followers, is all about meditating on the life of Jesus, every aspect, of which comes straight from Sacred Scripture. I usually have trouble concentrating as I try to picture the scene, and keeping my mind from wandering. In the Presence of Jesus, though, at adoration, I find it so much easier to visualize the angel asking Mary to be the Mother of God at the Annunciation, Mary visiting Elizabeth at the Visitation, the Birth of Jesus at the Nativity, Mary and Joseph taking the Infant Jesus to the Temple at the Presentation, and 12 yr old Jesus being found in the Temple.

Anyway, after adoration, we all went downstairs and just hung out. Father even joined us for quite awhile, and talked to us about how he went on a quest about 16 years ago to find the best chocolate in the Indianapolis area, and his findings. He's so funny! We also talked about Frozen, Tangled (can you tell we're moms? Chocolate and Disney movies! LOL), demonic possession, and realistic exorcism movies like the Exorcism of Emily Rose (great movie!), The Rite (haven't seen it), and the Exorcism (except for the spinning head and pea soup part, and the fact that it was a boy, not a girl).

All together, it was a wonderful, beautiful, uplifting, peaceful experience that I have every intention of repeating every week. If you're local, and want to share in this wonderful opportunity, we meet at Holy Rosary parish in Indianapolis from 9:30-whenever people leave (today it was about 1) on Thursday mornings.

God Bless!
Dana