The transitions in life are not always easy, and yet, we walk by faith.
Mom on 10-19-14
This was a few years ago but is still a favorite.
It is hard to believe that in October of 2014 mom was able to travel with me to Tennessee and Alabama where we visited the Grand Ole Opry, the Ave Maria Grotto, EWTN studios, and Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville, Alabama. A broken hip soon after the first of the year sent mom on a downward spiral. The struggle to make it through rehab was no small feat. Unfortunately, it seemed that one complication followed another.
The transitions in life are not always easy, and yet, we walk by faith.
It was a blessed five days in Gillette. I am extremely grateful for all of the work that went on behind the scenes to make this an amazing success. The food, the fellowship, the panel discussions all served to enhance the evening presentations. My thanks to the pastor, Fr. Cliff, and Deacon Kim for all of the guidance and support. St. Matthew's Parish is a faith community that is alive and well.
I snapped this picture last month when I was in Laramie on the campus of the University of Wyoming. As I looked at the picture this morning a number of things jumped into my head. Am I going through life with with great style and form even when life is rocky and attempting to buck me off? Am I instead just holding on for dear life regardless of how it looks? Could it be that I am just protecting my hat during the whole process?
The world can be chaotic but our hope remains in the Lord. We are encouraged to stand firm in our faith. This Sunday's Gospel reading has Jesus asking Bartimaeus a very simple question. "What do you want me to do for you?" If Jesus asked you that question today how would you respond?
I received a text message this morning from an unfamiliar telephone number. It included a photo of my mom sitting among the Halloween decorations at the nursing home. Shortly after I received the text message my mom called from her phone to tell me to expect a picture. I told her that I already had it. One of the staff members kindly shared the festive surroundings with my mom in the midst.
Since my mom broke her hip earlier this year it has been a long journey of recuperation. Sometimes it has been a step forward and five steps backward in the healing process. There are times when the difficult days outnumber the good days in regard to how she feels. This can be quite frustrating for an individual who just last year was living on her own and independent. The dramatic changes in life that come along can certainly be daunting.
Since I am 850 miles away I don't get to see my mom frequently. Although I talk to her each day on the phone it is good to see a picture so I can visually see how she is doing. The staff member was very gracious to take the time to snap the picture and send it to me (and give permission to use it on my blog). Acts of kindness like that do not go unnoticed.
It is too bad that our news cycles generally tend to focus on the negative aspects of life. Who messed up? Let's highlight that for all to see. I have heard the horror stories of elder abuse in some of our nursing homes. It is awful. However, it would be nice to celebrate all the many nursing home workers who go above and beyond the call of duty in caring for the residents with gentleness, compassion, and love.
Last month my brother-in-law died. After a series of strokes he spent his final days being cared for in a nursing home. I was there the day before he died and was amazed at the number of hugs his wife received while she sat by his bedside. The staff cared for her as much as they cared for her husband. The best of humanity was shown during those difficult days.
It has been the same in my mom's nursing home. During those times I get to visit I see staff members just poking their head in to say hello to my mom. There is genuine care and concern expressed by many. That helps put my mind at ease when I return home 850 miles away.
Today, I simply want to say THANK YOU to all those who work in nursing homes. Regardless of the position or job you hold, thank you for your love, concern, and commitment to making life as pleasant as possible for those entrusted to your care. There are days when I know your job is demanding and difficult. I also know you aren't getting rich in the process. However, I want you to know that you are making a positive difference in this world one person at a time. May God bless each of you abundantly for your ministry of healing!
I stepped out my office at 4:30 P.M. to grab this photo of the capitol as the clouds rolled in to take over the sunlight. The colors of the trees and the glistening sunlight off the dome of the capitol made for a spectacular setting. A few minutes later and the sun was not to be seen. Change is in the air.
The three parishes in Cheyenne are celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation this week. Last night it was at St. Joseph's, tonight at Holy Trinity, and tomorrow evening is at the Cathedral of St. Mary. Many of our young people are being sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit. Change is in the air for each of them.
The power of the Holy Spirit in our lives is not something to be taken lightly. If we are walking in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the power, communion, and fellowship of the Holy Spirit we should be witnessing definitive changes in our lives. If the gifts of the Holy Spirit are at work in us, the fruits of the Spirit should be readily visible to all. Are we growing in patience and kindness? Are we maturing as Christians? Is change happening in our lives?
A mere 20 minutes later and the clouds are in control.
The serenity of this small lake in one of our city parks is appealing. Enjoying temperatures in the upper 60's today was a rare treat for this late in October. People took advantage of the opportunity to grasp these last few days of warmth before change begins to set in later in the week. Sometimes we want to hold onto something for as long as we can.
I want to hold on to the way I felt at 22 years of age. My senior year of college was probably the best shape physically I was ever in during my entire life. I could put my elbow on the rim in basketball. I could throw a baseball up to 85 MPH. I could run several miles without feeling like I was going to collapse. Where have those days gone? They are simply a fading memory.
I was grateful to have no commitments this past weekend. I spent much of the time resting and tried to help my body recuperate from these last couple of weeks. The hospital is definitely not a place to get rest. Besides all of the needle sticks, a Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE), and a cardioversion, vital signs must be taken at any point the patient appears to be falling asleep. Yes, two days in the hospital took a toll. Okay, my heart not beating properly may have contributed to the fatigue as well. Bottom line--I am far from being 22 years of age any longer.
It is time to kick things into gear again. It is my hope and prayer that my body cooperates in the process. Several evening commitments will lead to the weekend. On Saturday I will make the five hour drive to Gillette to begin the parish mission. I will preach the weekend Masses at St. Matthew's Parish and then give presentations on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings. We will also have lunchtime panel discussions on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday afternoons. On Monday morning I will have the opportunity to be on one of the local radio stations in Gillette to discuss the parish mission. On Tuesday morning I will preach at Mass in which the students from St. John Paul II School will be in attendance. These will be some full days while there. My "Get Up And Go" must be back into full swing by then.
The gift of good health is a tremendous blessing. The gift of suffering reminds us of the value of the gift of good health. Don't take a single day for granted. Let each day be filled with grace and blessing regardless of the difficulties you may be facing. I may not be 22 any more, but I am still a child of God. It doesn't get any better than that!
Get ready Gillette. I will soon be on my way.
Photo taken on 10-12-15 in Cheyenne. Compare to last year.
Photo taken on 10-09-14 in Cheyenne.
Mums are looking good today in St. Charles, Missouri (10-17-15)
Why are gas prices cheaper in Missouri than Wyoming on 10-17-15?
Photo taken on 10-23-14. I won't get the opportunity to travel Highway 79 this fall to compare.
"This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!"
We are over half-way through the current 40 Days for Life Prayer Vigil. Have you been involved yet? Our government and Planned Parenthood may call it healthcare, but abortion terminates a life plain and simple. These children will never get the opportunity to go down a slide, enjoy the wind blowing through their hair as they swing back and forth, or teeter-totter? As I looked at the empty playground I could not help but feel heartbroken over what might have been. Nearly 60 million have been denied the pleasures of a playground. Countless mothers, fathers, and grandparents grieve their loss.
Prayer warriors--keep up the good work. I give a special "shout-out" to the 40 Days for Life Team in Fort Collins, Colorado for the great work you do. It has been a privilege to stand side-by-side with you. Also, I give a "shout-out" to the 40 Days for Life prayer warriors in Louisville, Kentucky! Not only are they faithful witnesses for life in Louisville, they have a great presence on social media. (They have good taste too. They follow me on Twitter.) Keep up the good work one and all. You are making a positive difference in our culture.
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