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!

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.

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.











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!

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,

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.

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

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, 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.

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

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!


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.