Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Springtime Hope

Peace be with all of you -

The grass is turning green and tulips are in bloom here in Kansas City. I hope this finds each of you well and taking time this Lent season to "fast" from the things that keep you from growing closer to God.

For the girls and I, so many blessings are continually poured out on us from Him through our many friends and family. First, I have found and started a new job with a local company that will keep the girls within their support network and allow us to pay the mortgage. On the day I received the job offer an orchid that we received in July and has been dormant since suddenly bloomed -- it was like heaven was smiling on the event. The flower has since opened a total of 12 blooms and remains a reminder of looking for the wonderfully beautiful moments of His grace in our daily lives. Some of the other blooms coincided with friends birthdays, friends job offers, and many other wonderful happenings. Its color is purple - the color that represents hope.

The girls continue through school and Grace has missed much due to illnesses but seems to be back on the healthy side again. Zoe has turned 10 and has had another surgery (now 20+) and did well - what a trooper and I pray that it helps her continue to relieve pain and improve muscle functions. We are all looking forward to Grace's 1st Communion - she has a beautiful dress and thanks to helping hands of friends she will have her hair done up way beyond my skills for the event. I have wonderful girls.

Recently, I came across a quote from Alexander Graham Bell ...
"When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us."

The quote became meditation and inspiration for me as I realized that I did not want to be consumed with looking backwards at events of the past even as treasured and sacred as they were are now are behind a closed door. I am able cherish memories and times past but must move forward with the here and now - God isn't the God of I was. Nor, is He the God of I will be. He is the eternal I AM - he is here now in this very moment. I know many of you may wish Ann was still with us - holding on to the way things were. However, I believe she is serving you still now in your current moments in her capacity in heaven. Through a number of messages from above, I am receiving the clear message to see the open doors in my life. In a beautiful way, this is the message and lesson of the orchid - to be in the present and to enjoy life through serving others.

If this message finds you "regretfully looking at a closed door of your past" I pray this message of Springtime Hope may help you in some small way towards the healing you may need in your life as well.

God is so good and I am so wonderfully blessed.
May God's mercy and grace rest upon you.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Jesus I Trust in You

Greetings all -

The title is from the Divine Mercy image revealed to St. Faustina. I find it is a good phrase to repeat to keep myself focused on Him rather than me.

Its ironic at times that I find myself thinking that blue sky is on the way. Wanting and waiting for the way of the cross to get easier for some illogical reason -- the reality is the opposite. The more we tune into His ways the greater the burden seems...and then, when we finally let Him take over, we laugh and wonder what the big deal was in the first place for it seems suddenly too easy. Sure the burdens and suffering are still there. However, instead of our puny ability to withstand then, we receive supernatural assistance and the burden is made easy and the yoke is light.

For me, trust is the piece that I need to return to again and again to give me the confidence in taking the next step. I know in the uncertainties ahead that Jesus desires to be with me, my girls and all of you. At each step, it is my choice, and yours too my friends, if I trust and let Jesus lead or if I try to do it the hard way (my way) first. How entertaining we must be to our Father in Heaven?

Zoe, Grace and I are back into the swing of school and work. Grace is so much looking forward to her First Communion - and I am too. Zoe is mere days away from being 10! That milestone somehow makes me feel a bit older. I am truly blessed with great kids. Most days I feel like we are getting the bare minimum necessary items done - as much as we try to slow down there is always the busyness of school. I wish there were more hours in each day so that I could spend 8 hours giving each of them all the comfort and attention they deserve. Unfortunately, that simply isn't the typical work/school day.

I am still in search of an answer to what the next step in my career may be -- I am blessed with some recent leads and help on this front. We are working on being more ordered in our day and week to simplify our days and make more room for prayer, family and friends.

God bless you.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Back to the routine...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all.

We have had a good break from our normal routine to celebrate Jesus' Birthday and to enjoy some good family times together. There were also many great times with several of our friends as well. Certainly, things were different this year and each of us had moments where we needed to take a moment to remember Ann and long for her to still be with us physically.

We didn't do everything that would have normally been done -- that was completely ok as Christ isn't in the cookies... I have to say though that I learned a lot about the immense planning and details that I took for granted in the past -- beyond the cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping, dinners, cards, decorations, etc.. Wow -- its a lot to do. Not that I slacked before, but I never really fully appreciated all that was done. Fellas -- if you're reading this please take a moment to thank your wife for all that she does.

In the past few weeks, God has given me the grace to be in the moment and really appreciate the beauty of my daughters and how if the moment is just right how much they reflect their mother's beauty as well. I am blessed with their love and pray that I may lead them closer to Jesus this year through daily prayer and all the love I can channel from Him to them.

We have continued to be touched by the Father's Love in many ways through you -- in your prayers and thoughtfulness in actions. I thank you over and over again.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Balance or balancing act...

Peace be with you all.

I have a free moment and thought that I should update the blog -- it amazes me that we're soon to be 4 months past Ann's death. I must say that every day Zoe, Grace and I and so many of you too miss her in so many ways.

Yes. There are moments of joy in our struggles too -- Grace has had her 8th birthday with much pageantry and fanfare. She has also received her 1st reconciliation this past weekend and was happy as she is one step closer to her 1st Communion.

Fall sports are over -- Zoe's volleyball team took 2nd place in an end of year tournament and Grace finished up soccer. I must admit that I am relieved of some of the burden and busyness of practices and games. Often with the girls needing to be in two places at the same time, I am thankful for many of you that were so generous to help.

Mostly, these past months have been all about the daily school / work activities that test our virtue of perseverance. I remain in search of a new employment opportunity as the expectation still is that the office I work at will be moved to Denver.

I feel we are still in survival mode on most days and am pleased that no one has gone hungry, dirty, or unloved. We trust God to care for us and as long as we keep our focus on Him rather than the trivial, self made, expectations we give ourselves to carry the day is good.

I took the opportunity to attend a talk on Saturday put on by the Apostles of the Interior Life where the speaker's meditation was on "Balance". She reminded me of how backwards our culture has it when it comes to creating that holy balance in our lives. My typical approach in the past has been to give a slice of time and talent to a lengthy list of to-do's and expectations -- a balancing act; I covered all the bases but not with the holy care they deserved. The reality was that many of those items really were of my own creation and not God's will for me. Nothing that was evil or bad per se just busyness. Sister Elena reminded us that we need to be properly ordered first for God then for relationships with others and ourselves. Way down the priority list would be the acquiring and care of material things. How strange this approach is in our world. How liberating to not chase after things that will not pass with us to heaven.

I am guilty of many years of not seeing God's beauty in His creation - including the creation of His people. I tell you that I have witnessed many beautiful sights in nature this fall, but I am really enjoying this new ability to enjoy each of you that I meet and interact with daily. Of course, this seems easiest to see in my daughters -- how beautiful, how wonderfully made! It amazes me how many times we can be awe struck by an impressive sunset -- do we find the same awe in a friend, a family member or perhaps a stranger? Mother Teresa would call this finding Jesus in disguise of others. I endeavor each moment to soak in the beauty God has put in this world in the others that I meet.

I pray for you that you too see this beauty and can work on balance.
God Bless

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day by Day

Peace be with all of you.

I am sorry that it has been so long since I've posted an update. We have had many ups and downs -- usually many times a day and we take each as they come. School has started back in full swing and I've learned that coordinating the activities and all of the school & household chores is a lot of work. For you married folk out there, I pray that you appreciate the gift of each other. My girls are learning to chip in more and more and become helpful and responsible (or at least some of the time).

We have forgotten a couple of lunches and bringing Grace's class a snack to school but I must say that for the most part the kids are where they need to be and completing their school work. My hat is off to all of the single parents out there -- I never knew how much relentless work you experienced. I have learned to take a break from many of my own personal activities in favor of providing more of me to my kids -- at least for now.

We continue to experience His love around us and we spend more time simply appreciating a beautiful sunset that God provides as an amazing display of His beauty through nature. I notice the beauty of my girls much more and try to be conscious to soak in them to be with them in the moment. I pray that being busy (Martha as Ann would say) does not take me or you over. We are finding the blessing of rest on Sunday -- no chores just time together. These girls are such a precious gift and I wish I was able to do more for them. In the end, I know that His love is sufficient for them as well as myself. I pray that I can draw them closer to Him.

We have completed the burial of Ann's remains -- she is in Resurrection Cemetery if you want to stop by the grave. We have attended many Masses offered for her and prayed countless prayers. The girls both have different grieving activities as I know many of you do as well having talked with some of you. I myself struggle at times too - I miss her smile, her laugh, her eyes, ... you get the idea -- but, at the same time, I do not feel that she is not with me. We truly knew that God brought us to our soul mate and that has not ceased even in her death. I continue to be hopeful and want to encourage you to keep focused on the life to come, to trust God in all that you do, to seek His will over your own, and to share your gifts with each other in acts of love / charity.

I do have two other news worthy topics to share with you.

First, Ann's mom died last Friday. August 17, 2010 -- two months to the day later than her daughter. I pray they are together in heaven. Please pray for Glendore McLaughlin.

Second, the CEO of our company informed us a couple of weeks ago that the long term plan would be for the corporate office and accompanying services where I work will be relocated to Denver within the next 2 years (or sooner). For the good of my girls, I will not be able to make that transition -- so, if you know of any good companies in need of an IT guy (Project Manager in Healthcare) please let me know.

Yes - some days it does seem like the book of Job has much to offer for reflection. Perhaps its best said by Mother Teresa ... "Do something beautiful for God today".

My prayers will be with you all.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How Beautiful

Peace be with all of you.

I must start by saying thank you to everyone who has called, written, attended the visitation, and the funeral. Thank you; Thank you; Thank you.

It was apparent to all just how much you all love Ann and our family with an estimated 500+ people at the funeral. It is also apparent how much that God loves us and how touching it is as you care for one another as well.

I have witnessed many beautiful scenes of nature, the birth of my children, my wife on our wedding day... I must say the way that all reached out through the visitation and funeral transformed that time into something sacred, holy and beautiful for me. Odd as that may sound, I felt the Father's love through each hug, kiss, and tear shed with you. He is surrounding us with love the way that only He can. I have learned that when God decides to show you His love that it will be through a broad array of people, nature, sounds, smells, and touch. Without taking a moment to step back to see He is at work, we may write something off as a coincidence -- I try not to if I can.

The funeral itself started with the same song that Ann walked down the isle last year for our 10 year wedding vow renewal -- "How Beautiful". It was an emotional moment for me as I followed the casket into church all the time refecting on the joy I felt last year versus the pain I was feeling now. It was hard -- as the Mass proceeded I was touched by all the ways that many of you contributed to having this be a beautiful goodbye for Ann. I was very touched by the homily from Fr. Craig -- it was spot on. Perhaps I will be able to get the text and post it here for all to read. The music was beautiful (many of Ann's favorites) the readings seemed written specifically for the occassion even though they come straight from scripture and I couldn't have hoped for things to have been any better.

I have had many prayers in these past few weeks -- God is gracious and merciful to us and has answered many of these prayers -- we are so blessed. Now, my family is pursuing a new "normal". We are working through getting setup for school and the logistics that are involved. My parents have been so helpful -- as well as many of you too; thank you. I don't think Zoe, Grace and I really know what "normal" looks like ourselves -- other than that the 3 of us are closer than ever before and we have learned to slow down and enjoy each other. Sure there are struggles each day -- we are working through them; the greiving will certainly be long and at times tough but know that our trust remains in God and He will provide the graces to us that are needed in just the moment that we need them.

To all that wonder what is next, I pray this motivation you feel to help via the Holy Spirit continues and that you seek a way to reach out in love to those around you wherever that may be and share the gifts that you have been given. Do not dispair. God is faithful and good - He loves each of us beyond all measure.

Sounds simple huh? Perhaps, but I believe that is exactly what we are called to do each moment of our day -- I just need not to make it more complicated... How beautiful is the body of Christ...


Monday, July 19, 2010

Ann's Goodbye Ceremonies

Peace be with you...

I wanted to get some quick information about visitation and funeral out to you that are wise with technology.

Her visitation will be on Wednesday night from 6-8 pm with a rosary following. The funeral will be on Thursday morning at 10 am. Both of these events will be at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Shawnee, KS.
5501 Monticello Rd, Shawnee, KS 66226

The funeral home taking care of all of the arrangements is Alden Harrington Funeral Home (913)422-4074

We are asking that any donations in lieu of flowers be made to the Sacred Heart of Jesus School Endowment Fund.

With love and prayer.