Saturday, April 15, 2017

To Be Continued: Good Friday of the Easter Triduum

Good Friday has felt sad, dry, and somewhat empty.  I went to Stations of the Cross at noon.  The Baptismal font near the entry of the worship space has been drained of all holy water.  A wooden sculpture of Christ with a prominent crown of thorns is front and center. 

A number of people I recognized were there.  Several of us walked around the outside of the church where there is a sculpture about a foot tall for each one of the Stations.  Others sat in the chairs and pews to follow along in the booklet which includes Scripture readings, hymns, reflections from the viewpoint of a fictitious eyewitness, and short prayers to be read aloud together.  Tears welled up in my eyes, though I have done this particular version of Stations of the Cross many times before.
I cannot fathom willingly, lovingly, and without complaint undergoing such tremendous suffering in mind, body, and spirit.  When I consider how resistant I am to giving up even small comforts, the sacrifices Christ made for us knowing our sinfulness and every one of our future indiscretions are far beyond anything I can comprehend. 

Part of me wants to rescue Jesus from the horrible scene, to shout at these people that they are torturing an innocent man.  Another part of me knows that I am among those responsible for the lacerations from the scourge on His back, the thorns piercing his head, the nails hammered into his wrists and ankles, the buffets and spit on His face. 

I wanted to stay at church between 12 until 3pm, when Christ is said to have been hanging on the Cross and died.  After re-walking the Stations on my own so I could get a close look at each sculpture, I spent some time in the Chapel.  Later, I went out to the Grotto and sat on one of the benches facing the Pietà

Friday Flashbacks

Being out by the grotto reminded me of one year when our beloved brother in Christ John, his mom, and I were among those who gathered to pray Stations of the Cross at St. Michael’s at noon one Good Friday.  Afterward, John and I went out to the grotto.  The sun was shining and it was relatively warm.  We prayed some more and talked.  It turned out to be a special time of reflection on Christ’s sacrifice and His work in our own lives.

Another year, the Director of Liturgy asked me if I would carry the Cross into the sanctuary for the Veneration on Good Friday with John and Henry, the two seminarians from St. Michael’s at that time.  I was honored to be asked and happy to comply as I’ve always felt Kevin and I have had a special role in John’s vocation discernment.  Fortunately, the wooden cross used is not terribly heavy, something that I was concerned about when first asked to help.

As part of middle school religious education on March 27,
group leaders and students wrote examples of suffering
on pieces of paper and nailed each one to the cross,
then we wrote where and in whom we see God
on strips of white cloth that was then
draped over the cross to symbolize
 the Resurrection, the 14th Station of the Cross.
Pick up your cross and follow me.  

Sometimes, when I have fallen down with my cross, I haven’t gotten right back up.  I have lamented the weight of the cross, concentrated on my own aches and pains, pointed out the number of splinters I’ve gotten, lamented that the sun was in my eyes, I hadn’t eaten my Wheaties and was seriously considering giving up. 

Honestly, there have been times in my life when I have been in enough pain physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually that I just want the suffering to be over as soon as possible. I’ve begged God for an end to the anguish, but ultimately, I have asked that if I must endure it that it would be used, in conjunction with Christ’s Passion, for the salvation of souls in time and eternity. 

I realize anything I have gone through is minuscule in comparison to what Christ willingly, knowingly, acceptingly suffered.  Even so, in the midst of extreme hurt, I have been completely overwhelmed.  I’ve been unable to feel God’s presence, though, I know He has never left me.  I can understand feeling utterly abandoned.  I’ve asked God where He was in some situations and circumstances.  And even when I don’t sense a response, I know (at least intellectually) that He hasn’t given up on me.      

Oftentimes lately, the following lyrics have come to mind: “Was there purpose for the pain? Did I cry these tears in vein?” The next part of the song I initially misheard as "I have been told" instead of "I have this hope."  The lyrics make more sense now.

"I have this hope in the depth of my soul.  In the flood or the fire, You’re with me and You won’t let go.” -song lyrics from "I Have This Hope" by Tenth Avenue North

I spent some time in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel this afternoon, but it felt strangely empty in there.  The tabernacle is bare.  The doors of it flung open with nothing inside.  The red candle that is lit in the presence of the Eucharist had been removed from its golden holder.  Only a few women came to sit and pray before the void.  How lonely and sorrowful it would be if we didn’t have Christ in the Eucharist, in each one of us.  Every person would resemble a hollow tabernacle, worthless without the precious Body and Spirit of Christ inside.

The Good Friday portion of the Easter Triduum began with two of our cantors belting out "Pie Jesu" by Andrew Lloyd Webber.  I closed my eyes and soaked in the beauty of the moment.  Click the link below and close your eyes as you listen. 

Like on Holy Thursday, we were blessed to have a full choir and a complete string section this evening. Each row was given the opportunity to come and venerate the Cross.  Some couples held hands as they approached.  Families gathered around, touching each other as well as the Cross while praying. 

Deacon David gave the homily.  He asked us to consider a time in our lives when we had done everything we were supposed to do, and things had not gone the way we wanted them to or thought they should.  Not only had it not gone the way we'd hoped, but the worst possible outcome transpired.  He invited us to recall if we had told others about the injustice we had suffered. 

Typically, we tend to speak out against unfairness, especially when it involves us.  I thought of an incident when I’d been wrongly accused without much searching.  I remember being really frustrated, angry, and determined to prove my innocence, no matter what that took. 

Christ was attacked verbally and physically.  None of these insults or accusations were deserved, yet much of the time, He kept His mouth shut. 

After we prayed the Lord's Prayer and received the Eucharist, which was left over from what was consecrated on Holy Thursday, we once again left the church in silence.

Friday, April 14, 2017

And So It's Begun: Holy Thursday of The Easter Triduum

The foot washing stations were set up before Mass began and the congregation
began filling in the seats around the altar.

This evening was lovely for a number of reasons.  The Holy Thursday beginning of the Triduum at St Michael the Archangel Church was beautiful as always. Kevin and I both made it to church for the first time in three Easter Triduum celebrations. Woohoo! (I was sick last year, and Kevin was sick the year before that.) Fortunately, the Potter Paschal Plague has been lifted. Praise the Lord!

Kevin and I saw a number of people we know and love tonight.  A friend who was in the Spiritual Direction Institute with us for two years came over so we could catch up.  She is such a sweetheart and humble servant. 

The full choir was there to sing.  A string section, someone playing the harp, and the bell choir all added to the ambiance and the solemnity of the evening.  Our church has a truly amazing music ministry.   

We always sit in the same section, which happens to be a wonderful
place to hear the choir and musicians.
Each of the oils blessed at the Chrism Mass were brought in.  Between last August and December, I received the Anointing of the Sick three times.  One of the women who walked with me through that valley was sitting next to us this evening with their oldest, the first born of the three silly sisters for whom I used to nanny.  Her mother, a dear friend and sister in Christ was with me one of the times I was anointed at St. Bridget by Monsignor Carr.

When it was time for the foot washing, Vivi came up with me.  I had the privilege of washing the feet of another woman who accompanied me through part of the valley last fall.  She is a precious soul and a strong prayer warrior who washed my feet in a most tender, loving manner, going so far as to kiss my foot.  Afterward, I washed Vivi’s feet, something I have done many times over the years.  I laughed when she warned me ahead of time that her shoes and socks were full of sand since she’d been playing in the sandbox earlier.  I assured her that was okay.    

Before Mass on our 12th Anniversary
when Kevin and I renewed our vows,
 Laura came over to do
my hair and make-up (this is one of
the pre-salon treatment photos).
As part of middle school religious education EDGE during Lent, we gave the students an opportunity to experience the foot washing.  I washed the feet of two 6th grade boys in our small group.  The co-teacher of our group washed my feet, and I washed my friend Laura’s feet.  That experience brought back a memory from one of the previous years when Laura and I were the last two in line at a station and were able to wash one another’s feet.  How perfect an opportunity for two people who have been friends since going to 5th grade together at St. Mary’s School. 

I thought about driving separately from Kevin this evening so that I could stay for Adoration until midnight, but since he’s been having shooting pains in his feet and his sugar was low, I opted to take one vehicle and be the one to drive home.  I know Jesus understands that I was doing what was best for my husband, who has to get up early for work in the morning.  

Other years, I have entered deeply into the Paschal Mysteries in part through spending time before the Blessed Sacrament.  I have treasured memories of keeping vigil with our dearest brother in Christ who this year is observing the Triduum at the parish where he served his pastoral year. 

Lord, thank you for the gift of Your Son in the Eucharist and as an example of how we are to serve one another.  Amen. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

My Diary of a Successful Out-of-State Surgery and the Power of Prayers

I had my first colonoscopy in preparation for surgery.

Dec. 3
On Saturday, we were able to go to Mass and receive the Eucharist, I got to go to Confession and received the Anointing of the Sick at St. Benedict Church, so at least I took care of some important spiritual preparations before we flew down here.

Dec. 4
Our flight arrived safely and on time in Louisiana.

Dec. 5
Thank you to all who have been praying for us! Two back-to-back appointments including pre-surgery instructions/ preparations, and possible outcomes which took a couple hours each have left Kevin and I completely overwhelmed. I was in tears by the middle of the second one. Tuesday is a rather taxing pre-op prep, then Wednesday morning is surgery. Please keep those prayers coming!
Dec. 6

Visiting with Dorothy and her two adorable little ones was definitely the highlight of our day! I remember years ago when she was discerning her vocation. Clearly, being a prayerful wife and mother are how God is being glorified by her. Dorothy, thank you so much for bringing some sunshine into our day along with chicken broth, coconut water, and flowers. You're so thoughtful!

Dec. 7
Kevin and I just prayed the Rosary and did the Mass readings for today while waiting for the anesthesiology team. I'll be in surgery for several hours, likely all morning. Thanks in advance for sending love, hugs, warm wishes, and fervent prayers our way! Lord, You are the One through whom all true, lasting healing comes to us in mind, body, or spirit. I lay my life before You, past, present, and future. Amen.

A dear sister/friend Kami sent me this prayer yesterday in anticipation of my surgery this morning: May God bless the surgeons, nurses, technicians and all those who care for Trisha tomorrow and the coming days. God, please give them the wisdom, skill, and compassion needed to provide the best care possible for Trisha according to your will. God grant her a successful surgery and speedy recovery. God please bless Kevin with the grace and nurturing needed to support Trisha through this difficult time. God bless them both with patience, hope and your enduring, all-encompassing love! Amen. 📿
Dec. 8
My mom sent me flowers. Aren't they beautiful?!

My surgery lasted 8.5+ hours. Endometriosis was growing on pretty much all of my organs from below my rib cage to my hip bones from the front to the back.
They did robotic surgery, then they had to open me up (do a mini-laparotomy) because they couldn't reach the rest, then the general surgeon was called in to remove a lesion from my colon (biopsy, more endometriosis, no cancer) and fix damage to part of my intestines. They removed my appendix since that was covered, too.
Last night I was in excruciating pain, very discouraged by all of the damage, but finally they got me sufficient meds, and I started doing better.
I'm making progress today: getting to and going to the bathroom on my own, took a short walk in the hall, drinking clear fluids, and more alert.
Because of all they had to do, they're going to keep me in the hospital until at least Saturday.
Thanks for the prayers! Please keep them coming. I've got a lot of healing to do.
Dec. 9
They're saying I definitely won't be discharged from the hospital before Sunday or later, and they'd prefer I stay in town for a week out from such an intense surgery before it'll be safe for me to travel back home. I'm not sure how we'll ever manage to afford this on top of a much more serious, extensive surgery involving 3 surgeons, but no way out of it but through at this point. Lord, have mercy on us and help us weather the rest of this storm we're still in the midst of. 

Dec. 9
I feel as though I'm holding up pretty well emotionally though these are the two things on the wall across from my bed in the post-partum ward where I am recovering.
I was too out-of-it right after surgery to look closely at the board with the extentions for nursery/NICU and Lactation are listed. How I wish this pain were from delivering a baby instead of related to health problems making it more likely we'll never have children of our own. Lord, Your Will, not my own!

Dec. 10
I have already achieved my main goal for the day. Woohoo! I've honestly never been so excited about being able to fart in my life. Finally, making more progress towards getting solid food, being discharged, and going home. Praising the Lord and thanking Him for the amazing prayer warriors who are carrying us right now!

Dec. 11
This afternoon, they let me go outside for a walk with Kevin, and my doctors are saying that if all goes smoothly now that I've had a couple soft solid meals that I will likely be discharged tomorrow evening. 

So excited to be making progress so soon that will allow me to continue my recovery outside of the hospital. Thank you all for the tremendous prayer cover. God's working all things for good in our lives and I'm able to feel and enjoy that more with less pain now.

Dec. 11
Great news! I got a good night's sleep last night, and I've done everything they needed me to in terms of bodily functions to graduate to solid foods sometime in the next couple of days. I'm back to walking more than waddling, and I've been cracking jokes more often, so I haven't completely lost my sense of humor in all of this. Praising God for major progress and signs His hand has orchestrated the timing of all of this, right down to the date of my surgery being Dec. 7 instead of Dec. 28.
Dec. 12

Hello from the outside! 

Kevin and I are heading back to our home away from home (Country Inn and Suites) together. Bye, bye Lakeview Regional Medical Center. Thanks for everything!

Dec. 14
I'm trying to remain positive and optimistic in the midst of some setbacks, and sometimes I'm more successful at that than others. Nothing major has gone wrong, but added side effects and symptoms piled on to the overall discomfort and dreariness of this trip are wearing on us both.
I've determined two days of feeling crummy while staying at a hotel several states from home, family, and friends are worse than two days of being sick when you can sleep in your own bed and have someone other than your worn-out husband bring you food or medicine.  Kevin's sick of running to the store and the pharmacy to get me supplies and medicine especially in such crazy traffic.
Lord God Almighty Father and Mary, Mother of us All, help us be loving and patient with one another even when we feel we have nothing left to give. Amen.

Dec. 15 
Fortunately, today has, thus far, been a much better day than the previous two. A visit from Dorothy and her two cuties brightened our morning, then a late lunch at Cracker Barrel allowed us to get some good food while using the last of the restaurant gift cards a couple of friends gave us for the trip. We came directly back so I could rest. I finished the book I'd been reading and took a nap.

Dec. 16
Last night and today have been very rough physically and emotionally. I'm hoping and praying our travel home tomorrow goes much smoother.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Please give us safe, uneventful, and as pain-free as possible a trip home. We are so worn out.

Dec. 17
We made it safely to the airport, returned our rental car, and they provided transportation and a wheelchair so I wouldn't have to walk too far. So grateful to be heading home finally!

My mom picked us up from the airport and brought us home.  She provided us with some groceries. Not only that, but we arrived at our door to find a beautiful Christmas floral arrangement as well as one of my favorite meals: salmon and green beans.  Gina, one of my Christ Renews His Parish sisters had been by recently with the delicious dinner and holiday cheer.

We made it home safely and without any trouble. Thanks for the prayers!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Top 10 Signs It Won’t Be a Fun Trip

1. You go without eating any solid foods for 36+ hours, drink the prescription equivalent of human Drano plus all the clear liquids you can manage, then have a colonoscopy two days before you leave.

2. The most important and popular photos you have to show people were taken of your internal organs.

3. You meet a surgeon for the very first time who may or may not be cutting you open in a couple days and get a lengthy lesson in anatomy that nearly makes you late for your second pre-op appointment.

4. The second surgeon is scheduled to be on standby for another patient’s surgery at the same time he’s been asked to be on-call for yours.

5. Miralax, Dulcolax, Gatorade, and Hibiclens are the first purchases you make when you get into town.
6. Your rental car is a Nissan Versa instead of a Shelby GT. 

7. You remove the little nail polish that’s left on your toes and forego the mani/pedi since there’s no color allowed where you’re going.

8. You have a list of doctors’ offices and a hospital to go to but not a single local hot spot or touristy destination on your itinerary.

9. A young child sitting in the row behind you on the plane excitedly tells anyone who will listen where she and her family are heading, and you’d much rather catch their connecting flight than your own.

10. Your spouse pitches a royal fit when finding out your revised return date is a day later than originally anticipated.

Back to Blogging Before I Forget How

I took this photo during one of the rare times it wasn't pouring
rain while we were in Covington, Louisiana.
I've not ceased writing or taking photos though I have been spending significantly less time on the computer in recent months.  I got behind on pretty much everything when preparing for, having, and recovering from a major surgery: keeping in touch with family and friends, writing thank you notes, returning e-mails, responding to text messages, reading voraciously, writing book reviews, editing manuscripts, creating graphics, taking photos, posting online...

This was my first general update for family and friends post-surgery once we returned home: My recovery is going well, especially considering how extensive and long my surgery ended up taking. I have been sleeping and resting often since surgery and our return to Richmond last Saturday evening. I haven't felt up to doing much.  Some days I haven't felt like turning on the computer at all, so I haven't.  So far the only times I have gone out anywhere this week have been for two doctors' appointments.  

A great deal has happened since that first week home, but I feel I should at least recap for readers some of the big things that have gone on in our lives starting back in December.  The next couple of posts include a diary of my out-of-state surgery and a list of Top 10 Signs It Won't Be a Fun Trip.  I feel these updates, though long in coming, are still relevant and explain my prolonged absence from the blogosphere (and various other aspects of life).

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all readers and prayer warriors who have been so incredibly patient with me as I get back into the cyber-swing of things.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

We Survived 2016! Praise God!

Through the grace of God and with the love, support, and prayers of family, friends, angels, and saints, we survived 2016. Praise the Lord!

Open us up to the Holy Spirit in all areas of our lives. We pray for the strength spoken of in the Divine Mercy Chaplet so "that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will which is Love and Mercy itself."  Amen. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Falling into Advent Though I Am Not Ready

I created this graphic using photos I've taken of flowers in order to make the candles the traditional purple
and pink used on Advent wreaths.  I used a photo of leaves for the green of the wreath and the photo
of a bright yellow flower for the flame.  The way things have been going, this might be the only Advent
wreath I put up anywhere this holiday season.  We shall see.

It didn’t feel like last Thursday was Thanksgiving.  This was the first year in several that Kevin wasn’t scheduled to work on Turkey Day.  It’s just our luck that my husband and I spent the day at home in our pajamas instead of together feasting with family or even close friends.

We felt it was too big a risk for either of us to be around family members who had recently been sick with a very bad cold.  Though she was doing better than the previous three days, my mom wasn’t anywhere close to 100% when she made the apple pie the night before or started cooking the turkey the next morning.  She explained that she would sit down for a while and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, then she’d get up and do something else to prepare the feast, clean, set the table, etc.    

For a variety of reasons, neither Kevin nor I have seen much of my family in recent months.  I’d been looking forward to us all gathering at my mom’s, the one central location where all of us know we are loved and welcome anytime.  I figured I had a good chance of getting to hold our niece once more and hang out with our nephew for a bit. 

It wasn’t meant to be.  I thought of going to this once-a-year feast, especially since I really wanted to see everyone, but I knew Kevin was wise in advising against it under the circumstances.  We had to settle for a couple slices of turkey bacon cooked in the microwave and apple slices in place of roasted turkey with gravy and homemade apple pie.

After having worked in retail for a number of years, most recently at Best Buy, Kevin has a particular loathing of Black Friday.  I slept until noon.  Kevin conked out on the couch for most of the afternoon. 

We got dressed so we could go meet our friend John, who we hadn’t seen in months before he drove back to seminary in Baltimore.  We ate dinner together at Nanking and caught up a little.  It was kind of awkward to spend time together after not having much contact of any kind with John this fall.  The three of us confirmed that we still love, care about, and pray for one another even if the time between phone calls, texts, and visits has increased. 

Kevin asked if I wanted to listen to my music on the way home, by which he meant the Christian radio station I like.  I turned it on and when I heard Christmas music, I promptly shut it off.  I explained that I wasn’t ready, yet.  We’d barely had Thanksgiving.  I wasn’t ready for Christmas. 

I suppose my “I’m-not-ready!” reaction has a great deal to do with the fact that Kevin and I have had some very stressful, totally unexpected major health challenges and other crises to deal with over the past four months.  In fact, so much has gone on that I still feel the need to process most of it though we’re being dragged or thrown into the next whirlwind of activity and uncertainty before the last storm has cleared up. I realize that’s life—one thing going wrong right after another—but without the slightest break, I’ve been feeling really overwhelmed. 

While others are eating Thanksgiving leftovers, zipping about doing their Christmas shopping, putting up their tree, signing family photo greeting cards, and pulling out their holiday recipes, I’ve found myself wanting to hide from all of it.  I need more time to process what’s gone on these past four months and integrate it into my life and adjust accordingly to prepare properly for the future. 

It has dawned on me that I have been much more concerned of late about getting my body ready for my upcoming surgery than I have in planning and preparing my heart and mind for the coming of Christ.  Perhaps, therein lies the lesson.  Something is seriously amiss if I am neglecting the preparation of my body, mind, and/or spirit for Christ’s coming. 

What would happen if I spent as much time getting my mind and heart ready for Christmas as I have in making plans for this surgery?  Well, I'd bet that by the end of Advent, I’d be a better bassinet for Baby Jesus. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

21 Days of Thankfulness: My Photographic Attitude of Gratitude Project (Day 21) Men of Faith

My dad and his brothers (Rich, Bob, Dave, and my dad-Jim) have
definitely had a huge impact on the faith formation of the Niermeyer family.

Day 21: Men of Faith

It would be difficult to name all of the men who have had a significant influence on my faith over the years.  Certainly, family members and close friends have greatly shaped my appreciation for what really matters in this life.  I would include several priests, deacons, and seminarians among those who have helped Kevin and I grow in our love and understanding of the Catholic faith.  We've been blessed beyond measure to have so many men of faith to inspire, instruct, and mentor us.  

Mary Kate and Rick Vivacqua (aka Stitch, my Godfather) have
been part of our family for years.  I know Stitch's prayers and
friendship with my dad ever since they went to St. John Fisher
College together helped my dad get through some really tough times
without giving up hope or faith in God.

They say to choose your friends wisely, for you become what
they are.  Laura, Jeff, and John have been with us through some
tough times as well as some really joyful ones.  We lift one
another up with our prayers and encouragement.
Dick and his lovely wife Jeannine have
been wonderful spiritual companions,
parental figures, and two of our dearest friends ever
since we met them in 2006 through Cursillo.
The Baabs "adopting" us into their clan have given Kevin and
me a father figure and four brothers to pray for and with.
Monsignor Chester P. Michael is someone Kevin and I got to
know through the two-year course in spiritual direction
this priest developed for laity and shared
with many members of our diocese and Cursillo family.

Dr. Ed Smith, (creator of Transformation Prayer Ministry),
his son Jonathan, and the amazing crew at New Creation Community in Chesapeake
have inspired me a great deal over the past six years.
Fr. Brian Capuano blessed the office as well as the Crucifix and Cross
that hang on the wall at the recently-opened Dignitas Health
Dr. Jill Zackrisson (pictured to Father's right)
has opened her new primary care practice.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

21 Days of Thankfulness: My Photographic Attitude of Gratitude Project (Day 20) Faithful Sister-Friends

These lovely ladies (Laura, Holly, Jess, and Michele)
are the four sister/friends I most often call, text, spend time with...
We've been through some great sorrows and joys together.
This photo was taken on September 4, 2016 after the Mass
when Kevin and I renewed our wedding vows in celebration
of our twelve year anniversary.

Day 20: Faithful Sister/Friends

I am blessed to have a number of faithful sister/friends in my life of many different ages and at varying stages in their journeys.  I couldn't possibly picture all of them in one post, but I have included at least some of my ride-or-die sister/friends.
I include my sisters-in-law in this category, as I consider Deb,
Wendy, and Chari to be among my friends and sisters.
My original upper room spiritual divas (aka Cursillo group reunion) quickly
became my closest sister/friends those years when we met weekly.

This photo which was taken of a Cursillo team I served on
with the theme Harvesting God's Abundance.  Every woman
on the team and each of the candidates became sister/friends. 

Music Missionary Danielle Rose came to St. Michael the Archangel
to do a benefit concert and sing at the Masses.  I had the blessing
of being her chauffeur during that time and we became friends.
Knowing she is a strong prayer warrior, I have occasionally
contacted her via text message requesting prayers for major concerns.
The most recent prayer request I sent to her over these past few months
when facing some unsettling health challenges.  

All of these women who made their Christ Renews His Parish weekend in
February 2010 served on team for the next CRHP weekend the following summer.
Each and every one of these people has been a sister/friend.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

21 Days of Thankfulness: My Photographic Attitude of Gratitude Project (Day 19) Praying Grannies

My maternal grandmother, my mom, and I on our wedding day.
I feel confident that Nana was also present in spirit and praying
for and with us at our wedding Mass.

Day 19: Praying Grannies

I was blessed that I got to know both of my grandmothers.  My dad's mom, who we called Nana, I felt closer to while I was growing up.  She was one of my favorite people on the planet, certainly someone whose love for me felt nearly unconditional.  Nana passed away when I was only eleven years old, a few months after my youngest sister Theresa was born.  

My maternal grandmother and I became closer with in high school.  She let me come live with her the summer after I graduated from high school before I started college, so I would only be a few miles away from Kevin instead of 500.  Once I returned to Richmond after college, Grandma had moved down here to be near my mom and help with us.  

Both of my grandmothers were devout Catholics with a special dedication to the Blessed Mother. I know they prayed countless prayers for us while they were on this earth and feel certain they are interceding on our behalf now that they have moved on to Heaven. 

My mom has followed in the footsteps of her mother as a formidable prayer warrior who frequently goes to battle for her children as well as her grandchildren.

This is my maternal grandmother Marilyn.
We called her either Grandma or Gram.
My paternal grandmother Jean, who we called Nana.
This is of Nana, my mom, my sister
Katie (aka Mary), and me.

Monday, November 21, 2016

21 Days of Thankfulness: My Photographic Attitude of Gratitude Project (Day 18) Babies

Here I am with "my two little guys" who I began nannying for in Fall 2004.

DAY 18: Babies 

I have loved babies for as long as I can remember.  The one I took care of the most before I was old enough to babysit on my own was my youngest sister Theresa.  Even after getting my undergraduate degree and my masters, I couldn't resist the draw of taking care of little ones.  One week after Kevin and I got married I began my career as a nanny.  

The two youngest of "the three silly sisters" who
are fraternal twins with their mommy.
"The three silly sisters" with their first nanny (me!).

We all enjoyed it when my husband Kevin came to visit us. See
how happy the twins are to have him over!

Here I'm holding my Goddaughter (one of the twins).
Here I'm holding our once little nephew.

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