Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Praying with Frank Kelly

This is Frank Kelly.

He is a Catholic, a healer and no undoubtedly a man who has a message to share.

My family met him yesterday at a healing mass in our area.  I had heard about him briefly in an email sent by the Catholic homeschool group I belong to.  I planned to go see him last week, but my youngest girl was sick, my kids were cranky and my husband was working late.  So, I decided to stay home instead.

Over the weekend, close friends of ours said they were planning to see Frank Kelly on Monday!  Although it was farther away from our home than the original church I was going to see him at, I jumped at the chance to take my family.  Something told me that we should all go. 

The service consisted of a mass which was difficult for my kids to sit through because it started at 7pm, was cold and had no music for them to sing along with!  I was back and forth between bathrooms, our pew, and the back of the church trying to keep my youngest kids from reaching complete meltdown.

I almost left.  I was not feeling peaceful, I was tired, my arms and back ached from holding my squirmy baby and I was beginning to think that we had made a mistake in coming to a service so late in the evening with the kids.

But, just I was ready to pack it up, Frank Kelly walked up to the altar.  Upon first glance, I thought he worked at the church.  He did not look like any speaker or healer I had ever met!  Although he looked like any ordinary person...what he had to say was not ordinary in the least.

He shared his story with the parish.  He was born into a devout Catholic family and his mother frequently prayed to the saints.  In 1985, he was electrocuted in a workplace injury and was expected to die.  He prayed to Padre Pio and says he saw him appear in his hospital room.  In the years to come, he also had an apparition of Jesus.  You can read about him at his website Frank Kelly Ministry.

When our family came up to him, he asked only our names.  He rested his hands on each one of our heads one at a time and then looked us in the eye and told us who our patron saints were.  He also told us about things we were praying for and things we were worried about.  He also prayed over us.  He spoke so quickly that he had someone write down our saints while he spoke.
St. Frances of Rome
The things he said to our family were pretty spot on.  He gave us each our patron saints and a novena to pray to each of them.  My saints are: St Teresa Avila, St. Francis de Sales and St. Frances of Rome.  I'll admit to having to google a couple of them last night!  My girls each got a saint as well and one for the three of them together.

Sofia was particularly excited to find out about her special saint, St. Cecilia.  She prayed for her intercession last night and tonight she asked to include all the family's saints in her prayers.  Perfect! 

I just love that we have a crowd of people in heaven cheering us on!  I know Catholics get accused of worshiping saints but to me that is ridiculous!  It is the same practice as asking fellow Christians to "pray for us".  As Catholics we do the same thing to our saints in heaven. 

When I feel lonely in my beliefs, or challenged at times at my calling as a Catholic mother...I need to remember that I'm not alone in this!  The saints have walked our paths, they have met our challenges and they have made it through.  It's not impossible.

What Frank Kelly told my family was pretty accurate.  I felt a sense of peace after meeting him.  I love how my children are excited about prayer and are learning about their "friends" in heaven that they will get to meet one day.  I'm thankful for the reminder he gave that to be healed of anything, you have to first give everything over to God.  I'm super glad that my children made it through the 2 hour service without a major meltdown in sight....and that my friends, is a miracle indeed!

Our blessed saints in heaven...pray for us!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Is worry a waste?

I worry.

A lot.

I've done it since I was a child.  I used to worry about my younger sister.  I used to worry she wouldn't have her homework done, she would be late for class, she would get sick and the list went on and on. When my parents got divorced, I worried that my Dad might forget us and that my Mom would remarry.

It used to seem insurmountable, my worry.  It seemed like the more I love someone...the more I worry about them.  Believe it or not, but I was so nervous getting a dog as a child because I was worried about how worried I would be about it!

I used to think that this was a major flaw that only I had.  I could not wrap my mind around other people feeling this way.

But I was wrong.

When speaking to a group of other mothers recently, I realized that each and every one of these mothers worried.   Some worried about husbands, others health or jobs, but what we ALL had in common was a worry for our children.  Moreover, what we all shared was the belief that our worrying was a problem.

...the more I love someone...the more I worry about them...

This is why I think I'm OK with worrying about my children (or my sister, or my husband....).  These are the people I love, these are people whose lives I have a role in shaping, these are the people who's happiness is important to me.  As a Catholic mother, I have the added responsibility to help these people get to heaven.  No small feat.  

So I worry.

But I also pray.

And this is why my worries don't overcome me.  The more I love someone, the more I worry for them...the more I worry for someone, the more I pray for them too.  I like to think of my worry as God tapping me on the shoulder reminding me that the things I worry about I often have no control over.  And it's in this lack of control that I need Him.

So today, fellow mothers, when you worry about your children (your husband, your sister...) take a moment and pray for them.  And while you're at it, thank God that you are blessed enough to be given people that you can worry about. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Kids with allergies

This swollen, puffy girl is my eldest daughter Sofia.  This picture was taken 14 hours after being exposed to peanuts.  This is after multiple doses of Benadryl.

Sofia didn't eat anything with peanut in it.  She got a kiss and a hug from a friend who ate peanut products before seeing her.  It was an honest mistake and the person who kissed and hugged her feels very bad.

We noticed a few hives before dinner after our friend left (we didn't think anything of it, since random hives are not a new thing to us).  At this point we did not know our friend had eaten peanut butter and kissed her.  So we gave her a dose of Benadryl and she was fine.  She went to bed a couple hours later without a problem.  In the morning she woke up and her face, her lips, her ears, her EYELIDS...everything was completely swollen.  Her hands were even swollen!  We took her in right away and after 24 hours of Benadryl and a steroid prescription, she is better.

How scary, right?  

But what scares me even more than this reaction is that there are people who still think that making accommodations for  children with allergies is an annoyance.

When the school year started, I read several threads on facebook that went along the lines of:

"These allergies are getting out of hand, soon my kids won't be able to eat anything at school"
"These kids with allergies should just sit at different tables"
"My kids only eat peanut butter sandwiches for lunch"

I couldn't stop thinking about these mothers.  Is it possible that they would rather make life easier for themselves than to keep my baby girl safe?  Sitting at a different table wouldn't have helped Sofia in this weekend's situation.  We are lucky we homeschool, I can control what comes into our home and if she does have an allergy, I am right there.  But there are millions of other children who go to public school...what do they do then?  

Every mother knows the fierce protectiveness they feel for their children if they were being hurt. For me, I felt it the second I held my Sofia in my arms.  When I hear about a child being abused, hurt, abducted or bullied...my heart hurts, because I immediately think about my own children. My heart hurts as well, when I think that a fellow mother would not want to protect my child from death.  Yes, peanut allergies can be deadly.

If you know you will be in contact with a child with allergies, make accommodations.  Make your child's sandwich with Sunbutter or any other peanut alternative, bring fruit as a snack instead of snacks from peanut factories, brush your child's teeth after eating peanut products.  Let your child see you making these accomadations!  You have a chance to teach your child to be a HERO!  

A beautiful thing has come out of my daughter's allergies.  We have witnessed young children truly care for Sofia's health.  Mothers from Sofia's preschool would always come up to me and tell me that their child would remind them to keep Sofia safe!  A friend of mine had pretzel M&Ms out on the table when Sofia was over (they look the same size as peanut ones) and each one of her three kids asked her to take them away because they thought they were peanuts!

What a lesson to learn!  We are all responsible for each other.  Kids GET IT....now the rest of us have to get on board!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Gospel in a Nutshell -The two call rule.

Matthew 22: 1-14
Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people
in parables, saying,
"The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who gave a wedding feast for his son.
He dispatched his servants
to summon the invited guests to the feast,
but they refused to come.
A second time he sent other servants, saying,
"Tell those invited: "Behold, I have prepared my banquet,
my calves and fattened cattle are killed,
and everything is ready; come to the feast."'
Some ignored the invitation and went away,
one to his farm, another to his business.
The rest laid hold of his servants,
mistreated them, and killed them.
The king was enraged and sent his troops,
destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.
Then he said to his servants, 'The feast is ready,
but those who were invited were not worthy to come.
Go out, therefore, into the main roads
and invite to the feast whomever you find.'
The servants went out into the streets
and gathered all they found, bad and good alike,
and the hall was filled with guests.
But when the king came in to meet the guests,
he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.
The king said to him, 'My friend, how is it
that you came in here without a wedding garment?'
But he was reduced to silence.
Then the king said to his attendants, 'Bind his hands and feet,
and cast him into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'
Many are invited, but few are chosen."
My husband has a rule about calling people back after they have failed to return his call.  After calling someone once and leaving a message, he calls only one more time before leaving it in the other person's court.  Recently, I thought I had to use the two call rule for one of my friends.

I have a great friend who is like family to me.  Although we do not speak that often, when we do it's like no time has passed.  Everyone knows that kind of friend, right?  Well, I called this friend the other day and left a message.  I got no call back.  I called a second time and left a message.  Still no call back.  I was getting upset...I replayed our last conversation, I tried to remember things I may have posted on this blog or on facebook that could have offended this friend...but I could think of nothing.  Now, my husband said that his two call rule should take into effect now or else I would be a stalker.

In one final attempt (yup, I broke the two call rule)...I sent my friend a message asking bluntly what was wrong and why was I being ignored.  Thank goodness I did because the friend said that nothing was wrong, and had just been behind on returning calls.  We got together that week and once again, things are as they should be!

In today's gospel the king in the parable is inviting people to his son's wedding...but no one is responding.  The gospel describes his anger, his frustration, and his scorn.  Hmm, it seems like no one likes being rejected repeatedly.

Jesus invites us constantly to his feast!  When we don't respond because we're too busy, or don't like the church we go to, or find it too hard to concentrate on praying with kids screaming around....He doesn't stop inviting us.  We are too precious for Him to give up on.  Just as I was so upset at my friend not returning my calls, and the king in the parable went berserk when no one showed up at the wedding...Jesus warns us that there will be consequences for those who ignore his invitations.

We're invited!  All of us! And while Jesus does not use the two call rule...we don't know when our last invitation to His kingdom will come...so we need to answer the invitation.  Now.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mummifying Barbie

So, it seems that the uses for Barbie in the homeschool are limitless!  Barbie was outfitted with her new modest length prehistoric hand-sewed creation here.  And this week, we had he most fun the girls have ever had with a Barbie by turning her into a mummy! 

We did this lesson to supplement our Sonlight Core A section on Ancient Egypt.  We studied how a mummy was made and found a link to a website with a great activity here

Here's our spin on it!

Here you see our chosen Barbie with another book we added to the Ancient Egypt collection.  I highly recommend the Magic Tree House series of books, they are quick reads and have just enough facts in them to spark interests and encourage further research.  In addition to the books are the "FACT TRACKER" series of books that coincide with the stories.  These are easy to read non fiction books that my girls just love.  This particular one taught us how to make a mummy!

Step 1: Remove all organs except the heart.  We pretended to take out organs one by one saying their names out loud.  We then drew a heart on Barbie to symbolize the heart we were leaving in her body.  The ancient Egyptians kept the heart in because it was thought that the size of the heart told how good of a person you were .  Interesting huh?

Step 2: Wash with wine.  We used red wine vinegar and the girls said it smelled so bad.  They dipped cotton balls in it and made Barbie shine!

Step 3 - Rub with oil and spices.  We used olive oil applied with cotton balls and for spices we used Cinnamon, for the simple reason that I have so much of it in my spice cabinet.  Let me just say that after this step, Barbie was so greasy (can you tell from the picture?) and my kitchen table was covered in Cinnamon.  As you can tell from the pictures I did not use a protective covering on the table during this, silly mom.

Step 4: Cover in Natron for 40 days.  We used table salt for Natron to dry the body cavity out.  With all the oil on Barbie, the salt stuck on really well :)  We let it sit for 40 seconds (40 minutes was pushing it for the girls' excitement!)

 Step 5: Wrap body in resin-soaked linen for 15 days.  Here I cut strips of leftover beige flannel I had.  We then dipped them into a bowl filled with a flour-water mixture (think paper mache).  Then we wrapped away! Was it messy?  Oh yeah.  I am pretty sure the bottom side of my table is still covered in it because it dripped down the side!  Was it fun?  YES!!! Both girls could replay what each step was in the mummification process.  Although we read how to prepare a mummy a million times between our Sonlight books, Magic Tree House books and library books, Sofia really got to see how they did it and was able to understand why each step was performed.

Ta-DA! Doesn't it look great?  If you see her in real life she looks like a real mummy.  It has been a few days now and she is finally dry.  The funny thing is the girls play with her like she's still a real Barbie.  Slightly disturbing but overall cute!

Sofia wearing her hand made Egyptian collar.  Totally unrelated is the red feather taped to Maya's head.  The fun just never ends!