Warning – Teenagers cause seizures

You know mothers are never prepared to be the ones who need help or medical care. They are the ones who are supposed to drop everything, never get sick, cook, clean, cook and did I mention drive everywhere. For years I have suggested to my husband that we sell our home and live out of a Winnebago (think of the tax money we would save). I know I didn’t think that all the way through but since I spend most of my waking hours in the car, it seemed like a good idea. I have a great Winnebago memory as a child too. My aunt that hosted Thanksgiving dinner every year had a house fire and rather than change the location we still had dinner in the Winnebago. Yes I am reminded of circus people as I type this. Anyway my cousin and I sat in the two front seats and perused the Christmas catalog while awaiting dinner. Great memories really.

So, back to the seizure thing. It was a Saturday morning at 8 am and rather than awake to the alarm clock as usual, my husband awoke to me screaming and shaking while having a major seizure. I love my husband dearly and the fact that this event didn’t kill him proves to me that he is God’s gift to me and that He has no plans to take him away this soon. Our youngest is only eight and I pray daily (hourly sometimes) that we will both grow old together, lose our memory together and watch tv in different rooms, but always remain together.

My dear husband was shaking so badly and was really in shock that he called my mother, who lives around the corner, to come first. She decided it best to call 911. I’m very glad that she did. I awoke in the ambulance to several people taking my blood pressure and asking me several questions. Many of which I could not answer right away. A few hours later in the Emergency Room I was still a bit out of it, may have had another small seizure or just a panic attic by that time.

My doctor decided to admit me for further testing for which I am very grateful. I then had several days of testing to rule much out but as yet the cause of my seizure was not known and may never be known. Did I mention be careful of what you wish for. This was not the vacation I was looking for. This happened the week before Easter break so I was given six days in the Hospital and another week home for Easter break. The timing really was a gift.

The reason I say that teenagers cause seizures is because the only thing the doctor could say might have contributed to the seizure was sleep deprivation. Yes, menopause can be a factor in not sleeping well but you have to admit having teenagers has a much bigger impact on ones ability to sleep or not sleep as the case may be. In my case I’d usually like to go to bed and be asleep by ten o’clock most nights. Those with teenagers or remember being one, know that that’s about the time they like to actually go out for the evening. My husband snores too so most nights I would get four maybe five completely interrupted hours of sleep. That’s not good. I think having low blood pressure is also a blessing for me as the teenagers are not likely to cause a sudden cardiac arrest but who knows, I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

I’m home, back to work, medicated and as yet not driving. That I must admit has been the hardest adjustment. Yes, family and friends are picking up the slack but I’m learning that I can’t do everything or be in more than one place at a time. I think I may have managed that in my past life. Spring is just beginning (the groundhog was way wrong this year) and the sun is shining so it’s all good. I am learning to take NOTHING for granted. Appreciate the little things and not to sweat the small stuff. All those post-it note pearls of wisdom are really making sense to me now.

God is so good as my teenager seems to have lightened up just enough so that my husband can handle most of his driving requests and the whole family seems to be sleeping a bit more these days!! I am so thankful for all the prayers, cards, gifts and flowers that I received. You never realize how important your friends and family are until you realize where you’d be if you didn’t have them. Thank you all, you know who you are!!

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Take Another Look at the Beatitudes

The Beatitudes are seen in the Gospels of both Matthew and Luke. They are delivered by Christ during the Sermon on the Mount. When was the last time you really listened to the words of this prayer? I heard a discussion about them yesterday on a Catholic Radio Station, that I’m so blessed to have in my area. The priest was connecting the Beatitudes to the scripture about the woman at the well (John Chapter 4). I listened to the Beatitudes again and thought about the many times you hear them or read them and think you are praying for others. Yesterday was different. I got the feeling I was being prayed for. Perhaps I am the poor in spirit, I mourn, sometimes I’m the peacemaker. It was so comforting to know that millions (hopefully) say this prayer and it’s for me too. How often do we send up our prayers for others? Can you fathom how many of the prayers said at Church, or quietly before bed could actually be for you? I honestly NEVER thought about this before. I do not lead the most prayerful life but I do try and I try to think of others more than myself. I willingly pray for others before myself. Yesterday was the first time I acknowledged how many other prayers could be sent to God on my behalf. This feeling of gratitude will be with me for a long time. Take another look at the Beatitudes, pray them often, post them in your kitchen, keep them in your wallet. They are a gift.

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the meek,
for they shall possess the earth.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice’ sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when men reproach you,
and persecute you,
and speaking falsely, say all manner of evil against you, for My sake.

I think sometimes the Beatitudes are thought to be a prayer for children. I see myself more as an adult needing to say this prayer and understanding the enormity of what it truly means. Is this prayer something you have kept with you since you were young? I must admit I had forgotten about how special and important a prayer it really is.

Cathi D.

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“You do not know what you are asking.”

Today’s Gospel reading at Mass really struck a chord with me. I could see myself and so many other moms as the Mother in this reading. It frightened me really. Here is the part that was so powerful to me (Matthew 20:20-23).

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came with her sons to make a request of him, and bowed low; and he said to her, ‘What is it you want?’ She said to him,

“Promise that these two sons of mine may sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your kingdom.” Jesus answered, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?’

How many of us would ask the same of Jesus? “Please make sure my son sits with you in your Kingdom”. Now we know the cup Jesus had to drink placed him upon the cross to die for our sins. Knowing this is what was to come, would you ask that your sons be placed on His left and his right in the Kingdom?

So many times we think we are doing what is in our children’s best interest. Making sure we remove all obstacles that may lie in the way of our childrens success. We worry about them so much. We do whatever is necessary to be sure they are at the top of their class. That they make the All-Star teams and hope they come in first in every race. As I write this I’m thinking, I didn’t really do all that. I’m not as bad as this one or that one. All to make myself feel a little better.

Maybe what we are hoping they will become or achive will do the most harm to them. The stress of keeping up, fitting in and being the best is backfiring on us. I live in a town in Monmouth County, NJ where the teen suicide rate is well above average. Who wants credit for being above average in this?? Not me, not you, not anyone for that matter.

The Gospel reading today really hit home with me and I will pray that I am reminded of this reading each and everytime I think I know what’s best for my kids. God holds them in the palm of His hand. He always knows what’s best for them. We are here on this earth to make a difference. To serve each other not be served.

How many of us would offer our children to suffer as Jesus did so that they could be granted the spot on His left or His right? I don’t think that I could.

Cathi De Genova

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Sunday is a Day of Rest

"'Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest" Matthew 11:28

I read a blog yesterday about keeping Sunday as a day of rest. I keep thinking about this and I think maybe I’m failing in my observance of the Sabbath.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (Second Edition) has this to say about the Sabbath:

2175 Sunday is expressly distinguished from the sabbath which it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the sabbath. In Christ’s Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish sabbath and announces man’s eternal rest in God. For worship under the Law prepared for the mystery of Christ, and when was done there prefigured some aspects of Christ:

Those who lived according to the old order of things have come to a new hope, no longer keeping the sabbath, but the Lord’s Day, in which our life is blessed by him and by his death

2176 The celebration of Sunday observes the moral commandment inscribe by nature in the human heart to render to God an outward, visible, public and regular worship “as a sign of his universal beneficence to all “Sunday worship fulfills the moral command of the Old Covenant, taking up its rhythm and spirit in the weekly celebration of the Creator and Redeemer of his people.

After reading this I thought; my family attends Mass every Sunday, we almost always have at least one but sometimes two meals together and our activities are usually less than they would be during the week. My teenage boys have jobs over the weekend because it’s best they don’t work too late while they’re in school. Unfortunately more and more sports are being played on Sunday (to fit them in). I wish it weren’t that way but I don’t have the courage or conviction to have my children not participate in something they really enjoy because a coach or league has decided to play on Sunday. As I’m typing this my words “they enjoy” do hit me. I know it’s a choice, I know.

Further reading of the Catechism brings me to “A day of grace and rest from work” , this is it. I found what I was looking for. Above in 2175 and 2176 I was not doing anything I wasn’t supposed to do. I have a feeling I may not get the same from 2184 and 2185 that follow.

2184 Just as God “rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done”, human life has a rhythm of work and rest. The institution of the Lord’s Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social and religious lives.

2185 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body. Family needs or important social service can legitimately excuse from the obligation of Sunday rest. The faithful should see to it that legitimate excuses do not lead to habit prejudicial to religion, family life and health.

I do think my family treats Sunday as a special day for the Lord. I do make every effort to limit the number of activities we partake in on Sunday and do feel we have our focus in the right place, on God. For now the best I can do is try to balance my rest and the lives of my family. This may just be one of those things that will remain between “me and God” for now. Are we perfect? No. Is anyone?

Please share your “Sabbath” traditions. I’d love to hear how you have been able to truly observe the Sabbath, the Lord’s Day, as a day of rest.


Cathi D.

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The Gift of Life

Just the other day, while donating blood I was thinking about how in less than an hour of my time I may help save someone’s life. That’s awesome isn’t it? I’m not bragging it’s just can you really imagine that in such a short period of time, my giving blood has the ability to save someone’s life?

I started giving blood about twelve years ago. I know this because that’s how old my nephew “Luke” is. Long story short, when my sister was in the hospital to give birth to Luke, he decided he really didn’t want to wait out the labor thing and ruptured her uterus to get out. As a result of this my sister needed three pints of blood (that’s a lot to lose). Thank the good Lord, Luke was fine (big surprise to the doctor) and my sister healed as well. Since that miracle occurred I began giving blood. I was so thankful to the person or persons that gave their blood that was given to my sister that I always thought it was the least I could do.

I do sometime get rejected before donation because my iron tends to be low. I try to remember when I’m going to donate and load up the week before on hamburgers, raisins and try to cut back on the coffee (well not exactly, I eat more raisins).

Just this past weekend, while giving my pint of blood I was told that a local resident of my neighborhood was killed in a car accident on her way to Church. I was very troubled by this and just was humbled by the fact that we truly never do know the day nor the hour when we will be called home to the Lord.

It strengthened my resolve to give of myself, blood, time and talent to the lives of others. It’s really important that we be selfless not selfish while we are upon this earth.

Do you have a story you’d like to share about giving or receiving the gift of life? I’d love to hear from you.

Cathi D.

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Are you Thirsty?

Everybody is drinking water these days. My sixteen year old son asked me to pick up a case of water for him as he’s been feeling dehydrated at school (of course I asked had all the water fountains in school been removed). So many thoughts went through my head and out of my mouth. “Why not just use a refillable bottle from home?” and of course “Just think of all the plastic in the landfills?” I had to add. I wasn’t surprised that neither changed his mind. He needs water. We all need water. I read on Wikipedia that the body requires between one and seven liters of water per day to avoid dehydration. I don’t want to bring that many bottles of water into my house. My son will just have to get used to regular (almost free) tap water. It’s the United States we live in not India (that’s were the dirtiest River in the world is).

All this talk about water and ultimately thirst got me thinking? I thought about the Scripture that talks about the “Living Water”, which is God.

Here is the story of the Samaritan woman at the well and what Jesus said to her. It’s from John Chapter 4, verses 4 through 14. It’s one my favorite chapters of the Bible.

4 He had to pass through Samaria.

5 On the way he came to the Samaritan town called Sychar near the land that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.

6 Jacob’s well was there and Jesus, tired by the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Give me something to drink.’

8 His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.

9 The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Jew. How is it that you ask me, a Samaritan, for something to drink?’ — Jews, of course, do not associate with Samaritans.

10 Jesus replied to her: If you only knew what God is offering and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me something to drink,’ you would have been the one to ask, and he would have given you living water.

11 ‘You have no bucket, sir,’ she answered, ‘and the well is deep: how do you get this living water?

12 Are you a greater man than our father Jacob, who gave us this well and drank from it himself with his sons and his cattle?’

13 Jesus replied: Whoever drinks this water will be thirsty again;

14 but no one who drinks the water that I shall give will ever be thirsty again: the water that I shall give will become a spring of water within, welling up for eternal life

Yes we are all thirsty, we all need water and only God can provide us the “living water” that we need. It is only with HIS water that our thirst will ever be quenched. How thirsty are you?

I told you this was one of my favorite bible verses. What’s yours?


Cathi D

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Clare’s Special Strata – a.k.a – My Special Strata

I came upon this recipe back in 2008 (that’s the date I wrote with pencil in the corner of the recipe) in an issue of “The Monitor”, our Diocesan Newspaper.

I loved the idea of not having to take away from the chaos, I mean joy, of the gift wrapping frenzy that goes on Christmas morning in our house. This dish is made the night before, refrigerated overnight and baked in the morning while the chaos, I mean joy, is taking place.

What I like most about this recipe is you can add whatever ingredients you and your family enjoy. I also love that you can throw on some healthy items (broccoli)that go slightly unnoticed because it tastes so good!

This breakfast has become our new family tradition and I hope that when the gifts received and given may be long forgotten, the memory of a breakfast made and shared with love will be remembered. I don’t know who Clare is, but I’m so thankful that she shared this recipe with me. I hope you’ll give it a try.

Clare’s Special Strata

12 eggs lightly beaten
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6-8 pieces of stale bread
cut into 1/2 cubes
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

In buttered 9×13 inch pan, spread the bread cubes then the cheese. Beat the eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper and pour over the cheese. Dot with butter and any of your favorite toppings: bacon bits, broccoli, onions, sausage and the like…

Refrigerate overnight.

On Christmas morning, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 45 minutes. Yummy!

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