Monday, August 22, 2016

When We Can't Pray, Sometimes Others Must Pray For Us

--> One afternoon, when my son, Patrick, was 3-years old, he awoke from a nap unable to walk, the right side of his body paralyzed. Like a seasoned Indy-500 racecar driver, I burned up the road to the emergency room.  Patrick was admitted to the hospital and the doctors preformed every kind of test imaginable—cat scans, MRI’s, spinal tests, blood, and EEG’s.  We stayed for a few days and before they discharged us, a neurologist explained to us Patrick had a seizure. She pointed to a film of Patrick’s brain and said,

“The MRI demonstrates an abnormality on Patrick’s left parietal lobe.  This here, I assume, is causing Patrick’s difficulty walking. It might be an infection. I don’t think it’s a tumor, but I’m not sure. In any case, this likely caused his seizure. I’m going to put him on a round of steroids to reduce a possible infection in his brain and I want to follow his progress.”

Then she discharged us. 

--> We went home and began an intense year decorated with hospital stays, tests, medicine, and many unanswered questions.  Patrick’s episodes and condition worsened. We enrolled him in multiple therapy sessions to help with his development. We saw neurologists, oncologists, and other specialists to determine the root cause of his neurological issues. None of them, despite their best efforts, could tell us what was wrong. 

About eight months into our search for answers, Patrick underwent a brain biopsy to rule out the worst (things like cancer, tumors, etc.). All tests proved inconclusive but he continued to experience seizures. I had more than one doctor explain they had never seen a case like Patrick’s before and they couldn’t identify what was wrong with him.  They acknowledged Patrick’s suffering, but nothing they did seemed to help.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Two Lessons I Learned About Mothering, When My Son Wouldn't Learn His Math

My sister, Sarah, and I were chatting on the phone as I watched my children swim laps during practice. As we talked about the kids, I confessed to her that my oldest, Patrick, needed to repeat his current math class.

 “He just didn’t do well this year,” I said. “So many aspects of school come easily to him, but with math, Patrick doesn’t have the skill set to persevere and work out difficult problems.”

Sarah was silent as she digested this information, but not for long. “What do you mean you’re going to have him repeat math, Colleen? Patrick is a good student. Did you get him a tutor? Are you making him take summer school? This is unacceptable,” Sarah said.

My sister and her husband, Ted, are second parents to my six children. They both take great joy in my children’s accomplishments and are equally devastated when they see that one of my kids is struggling. Sarah took this news about Patrick’s poor math performance harder than I expected.

“You’ve got to put him on a learning schedule over the summer. He can’t get behind in math. It’s too important. I know you need help, so don’t worry, I’ll handle this problem. I’m going to put him on a math schedule and he’s going to work every day. If he does a good job, I’ll fly him to visit us at the end of the summer.”

That night, Sarah registered Patrick for Kahn Academy, sent Patrick an email outlining what he needed to cover in math, and promised him an all expense paid trip to her home if he completed his course load. Patrick was so thrilled by the prospect, he agreed to the deal immediately.

I, on the other hand, was skeptical Sarah’s plan would work. I was dead wrong.

Read the rest at Aleteia.

Monday, August 8, 2016

When God Picks Your Friends

Jesse and Dan’s ingenious modus operandi in securing our friendship was to feed us.  My husband, John, and I had moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana for work, but we were lonely because our immediate family lived several states away.  We knew we needed community, but we didn’t know where to look.  John and I decided to pray for some friends and a few weeks later, we met the Richey family one Saturday afternoon after a Vigil Mass.

Dan, a former Louisiana senator and a recovering attorney, knows more about politics and history than anyone I know.  When my father, a retired Marine Colonel and history enthusiast himself, met Dan for the first time, my dad asked me later, “Do you suppose he has a photographic memory?”

Dan’s brain is tack sharp.

And Dan’s wife, Jesse?  She is all heart.

If Jesse sees a book she thinks you might like, you’ll find it tucked in your mailbox before the day is out.  If you get sick and can’t cook for your brood, Jesse will prepare a casserole the size of Istanbul and put it in your oven.  If it’s two a.m. and you’re in labor, you can call Jesse and she’ll come sit with your other children while you go to the hospital (even if she has to work the next day).
When I had three children under the age of three and was overwhelmed with life, Jesse came to my house every Thursday afternoon so I could go to Adoration and the grocery store, sans children. I would leave for an hour or two and come home, to calm children, dinner in the oven and several loads of laundry washed and folded.

I still don’t know how she did it.

Read the rest at Integrated Catholic Life.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Tooth Ache That Took Me Down: Why Being A Martyr Mom Helps No One

 On Monday night the pulsating pain radiating from my tooth and down my jaw was so intense I started crying and called my mom.  Tylenol and Motrin were no longer numbing the ache and I didn't have an appointment with a specialist until 3 pm the next afternoon.

John had mercy on me and called the Endodontist anyway, even though it was after 5 pm and no one would be in the office.  The emergency physician on call prescribed an antibiotic over the phone,  encouraged me to take some more over the counter pain medicine, and call the Endodontist first thing in the morning.

After we picked up the amoxicillin at the pharmacy, I curled up in my bed and tried not to think about the pain.

But the pain was all I could think about.

I couldn't function, I didn't want to move my head.  I just wanted sweet relief from the hell wreaking havoc in my mouth.  I woke up several times throughout the night--sweating and unable to go back to sleep.

As it turns out, the dentist who performed a root canal on the tooth about seven years ago left a drill bit in the root of the tooth, thus not fully completing the tooth's treatment.  Since then, the tooth fractured and became severely infected at the root.  On Tuesday evening, after visiting three different offices, an oral surgeon removed the large infected molar at the back of my mouth in under five minutes, alleviating a great deal of the pain but not completely eliminating it.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Are You Going Uptown Or Downtown? Our Lives Here On Earth End In One Place Or The Other

“We are an uphill people!” my cycling instructor cried.  Sweat poured from my forehead and I felt a surge of nausea from all the intense pedaling.

My insides screamed, “No, I’m a downhill person!  I’m an eat rocky road Haagen-Dazs in my bed while I peruse reality TV shows kind of person.”

I wanted to hop off my bike and hurl in the hallway.

Instead, I decided to contemplate the profound spiritual metaphor the instructor inadvertently communicated.  I decided to think about how I desire to be an uphill person, a person who rises above my basest wants (like hopping off the stationary bike and into my bed) so that I can act according to God’s will.  I want to be the kind of person who walks up the mountain in search of Someone Great, not down it in search of myself.

Full disclosure:  I struggled during cycling class because this past fall, I gave up the exercise regime to which I had been very dedicated to for almost two years.  I got burnt out and decided exercising was taking up too much of my time.

It’s almost like Screwtape himself was whispering, “See?  You’re good now.  You don’t really need to walk those 10,000 steps.  Why don’t you take it easy for a while?”

Sadly, I listened and now, ten pounds and no stamina later, I’m back to the physical education drawing board.  Incidentally, I’ve been reading Dante’s Inferno.  I’m not perusing this great work of art on my own, of course, because like my lack of motivation to exercise and eat well, I’m also not motivated to dive into difficult masterpieces on my own accord.  My book club selected The Divine Comedy to read and so in the past few weeks I’ve been walking with Dante through the dregs of hell.

Read the rest at Catholic Exchange.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Four Reasons People Avoid Counseling (And Why They Don't Hold Up)

( image credit here)

I went back to counseling recently.  I’m not seeking therapeutic help because some severe addiction plagues me.  I’m not going because I’m a serial adulterer or because I’m facing an epic marital crisis.

The main reason I’m attending is because sometimes, when I’m stressed or tired or when the sky is cloudy, I lack the self-control necessary to hold my tongue. Instead of responding to my husband and six children, I sometimes react harshly to them, thereby making an already trying familial situation even more difficult.

Meeting with someone who helps me create strategies to combat this personal weakness has already had positive effects.  CEO’s come up with business plans all the time to improve their financial performance.  Since I’m the co-CEO of the Duggan Corporation, it can’t hurt to create a performance plan of my own.

I’ve noticed some Catholics are weary of counseling and for good reason. It would not be helpful, for instance, if a counselor suggested I get on the birth control pill and quit homeschooling as the solution to the stress I experience in family life.  I’ve already discerned that the birth control pill and full time school won’t really solve my problems, but coping skills for emotional volatility actually will.  I don’t want to have to defend my faith or my lifestyle to someone who doesn’t understand.  Even if I did quit having babies and put all my kids in school, I’m still going to struggle with my temper.  I need some tricks and tips to help me manage myself in challenging life situations, not quick fixes. 

Read the rest at Aleteia.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Want To Save The World? Start With The People You See Everday.

In June, I started a mother’s ministry at my 10,000 person parish and the response has been overwhelming.  Though we began meeting over five weeks ago, every week I receive more requests from women who have heard about us and want to join the group. 

Here’s the thing I already knew, but my experience has confirmed:  women are hungry for community, for support, and for friendship.  Women feel isolated and alone.   

At the end of almost every session, someone approaches me and confesses a private pain.  There are marital issues, parenting challenges, the death of children and spouses.  I pray to hold back my tears as these women tell me their stories.

I’m ashamed to admit this, but these women I’m befriending?  I’ve been sitting next to them in the pews for years.  Until recently, I didn’t even know their names, let alone their sufferings.  Though I’ve seen them almost weekly for the last six years, my efforts to get to know them have not exceeded a polite nod and a weak smile as we file into and out of Sunday Mass. 
Isn’t it strange I would never forget to leave my iPhone at home but I can’t be bothered to ask the woman sitting next to me at Mass every Sunday her name?
Isn’t it strange that I live in a über technologically connected society, but I remain so emotionally disconnected from the people around me?

Read the rest at ICL.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...