It Comes in Threes

I wish the saying “It Comes in Threes” was about the Wiseman following the North Star to pay homage to the newborn King, Jesus, rather than about death.

I don’t believe in the superstition that when one person dies it’s not too long before you hear of another and then another. Yesterday I was sharing with friends about the passing of a young boy in our community, from cancer, and she said “that’s the third”. I knew what she meant and it’s eery that sometimes you wait to reach the number three.

Unfortunately this child was the second death as a result of cancer that I heard about on the same day. The mother of my sixteen year old son’s friend passed this weekend too. Another boy in our community is on life-support in the hospital, also a result of cancer. I keep hearing the Marvin Gaye tune in my head as I scream (on the inside) “What’s going on”?

Who doesn’t know someone who is battling this disease now or has lost the battle recently? I’m afraid it comes in more than threes. There are no words of comfort here. I don’t know what to say anymore. Statements like “their in a better place” don’t work right now. Here, with their children or their mother is a “better place” if you ask any of them.

When things like this happen so close to Christmas it makes me realize even more that every day we have with our loved ones is a gift. Frantically crossing items off a list, hours spent in the Mall and rushing to send cards mean nothing compared to the loss of a loved one anytime of year. Christmas may not ever be the same again for these families. May God give them the comfort and peace they need and may He hold them in the palm of His hand.

Give them eternal rest, O Lord, and may Your light shine upon them forever. Receive their souls and present them to God the Most High.

Cathi D.

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If You Are, How Long Have you Been Catholic?

I read an article recently about a Maryland Episcopal parish becoming Catholic. It got me thinking about Catholicism and that maybe it’s on the rise and not the decline anymore.

I don’t know, maybe it’s wishful thinking or wishful praying more than actual fact. As a mother of five children I know all about “go forth and multiply”, but my friends, not so much. I won’t even get into the one child policy in China because there aren’t too many Catholics there, so that didn’t cause a decline in our numbers by much. Get a load of this, “worried about its dwindling numbers, the Roman Catholic Church in southern India is exhorting its flock to have more children, with some parishes offering free schooling, medical care and even cash bonuses for large families” was recently mentioned by the Associated Press.

Anyway, back to my point. I was born Catholic and I guess you can say that I’ve chosen to remain Catholic all of my life. I do know others that made other choices as they got older but I have never felt the desire to even look elsewhere when it comes to my faith or how I wish to “practice” my religion.

Many Catholic Churches have very successful Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, or RCIA programs in their parishes. It’s wonderful to watch candidates become full members of the Church at the Easter Vigil each year. It’s one of my favorite Masses all year.

So, I began to wonder about others like me who were born Catholic. Have you made a conscious decision to remain Catholic? Have you married someone who wasn’t Catholic and you converted or maybe your spouse did? Share your faith journey I’d love to hear from you.

Please join me in praying for the Episcopal parish in Maryland, that their Congregation grow in the Love of the Lord and the beauty of the Catholic Church.

May God Bless you always!
Cathi D.

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Do you Remember the Mighty Mac’s?

I was too young to really remember this but it was back in 1971 when a young lady named Cathy Rush took the Women’s College Basketball League by storm. She would go on to be crowned national champion for the first time in women’s basketball.

Immaculata College, a tiny all-women’s Catholic college in Philadelphia, was looking for a new coach as other collegiate teams were also trying to prepare their teams to win that first title.

At the start of this career she realized the challenges getting her program started were more difficult than the teams Immaculata would face on the court. Cathy learned there is no gymnasium on campus, she receives little support from the school’s Mother Superior, and the school is in dire financial straits. And, she may not even have enough players to field her own team.

The movie also stars Ellen Burstyn as Mother St. John who isn’t very interested in basketball. She’s just hoping Cathy “can use these activities to suppress their hormones”.

Cathy was dealing with those who thought a newly married woman had no business even working let alone coaching a women’s basketball team (so 1950’s). With the help of some unlikely supporters, she pulls through with much success.

This sounds like a must see film. This isn’t just a film for the girls either. It’s a sports movie that should be seen by all those that think “girls” shouldn’t try to play in the big leagues! Go get ‘um ladies!

Interestingly the actress that plays Cathy Rush is Carla Gugino and she was born August 29, 1971. Do you have memories of playing sports in College? Did you go to a Catholic High School that had mostly nuns as teachers? Boy have things changed….

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Football Makes People Crazy

I was home in bed last week reading my book not bothering anybody and my husband puts on the Monday Night Football game.

To be truthful I have been participating in a non-gambling type football pool myself, but I make my picks by following a crowd (I wait to see who everybody else picks first and pretty much copy theirs). It’s not cheating it’s being lazy. Like I said it’s just for fun there’s no wagers made here.

My husband is a quite man. I mean really quite man. The only time he ever really gets going is when he gets one of my relatives on the phone. Then for some reason he’s able to go on and on about what I did or maybe what I didn’t do recently. Cooking and cleaning seem to always hover at the top of his “What HONEY doesn’t do list”.

So imagine my surprise when he starts shouting loudly, “KILL, KILL, Kill him” at the television. He wouldn’t hurt anyone and really he’s not competitive when it comes to his children playing sports either. I thought for a minute he might have become possessed.

When the headline on the T.V this morning says “Jets Fry Fish” he wasn’t very happy. I give him credit for sticking by his team (the Dolphins) and not jumping ship after a few bad years. Well a few bad years has been more like a decade since Dan Marino retired and I think it just might be time to find another team. Then again, maybe not. I really do respect him for staying faithful to his team. He’s honest, trustworthy and I love him. I do however get just a little bit nervous with the “Kill” rants. I may have to read my book in another room if this is going to continue.

Have you had a similar experience with your loved ones recently? Please share.

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Touch of the Master’s Hand

Several year’s ago my Great Uncle Barney recited this poem to me. For years I thought this poem originated in Ireland because my uncle did not come to America until he was in his 20′s and I was sure he learned this poem as a child. Imagine my surprise when I found out after he passed that the poem was written by an American woman in 1921. According to the writer, Myra Brooks Welch she was inspired to write this poem after she heard a speaker address a group of students. Myra said she became filled with light, and “Touch of the Master’s Hand” wrote itself in 30 minutes. Ms. Brooks felt this poem was a gift from God and sent it to her church news bulletin anonymously. Amazingly several years later, after being spread like magic, the poem was read at an International Religious Convention as was credited as “Author Unknown”. Upon hearing this a young man stood up and said, “I know the author, and it’s time the world did too. It was written by my mother, Myra Welch”. How awesome is that!

Please take the time to read this poem and share it with your loved ones. This poem is beautiful and I promise you, you will think differently after you read it. This poem sinks in and I have never forgotten where I heard it and you might not forget it either. I hope! Please let me know what you think and if you’ve had a poem or story touch you so deeply. I’d love to hear from you.

The Touch of the Master’s Hand

‘Twas battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.

“What am I bid, good people”, he cried,
“Who starts the bidding for me?”
“One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?”
“Two dollars, who makes it three?”
“Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,”

But, No,
From the room far back a gray bearded man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet
As sweet as the angel sings.

The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said “What now am I bid for this old violin?”
As he held it aloft with its’ bow.

“One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?”
“Two thousand, Who makes it three?”
“Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone”, said he.

The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
“We just don’t understand.”
“What changed its’ worth?”
Swift came the reply.
“The Touch of the Masters Hand.”

And many a man with life out of tune
All battered with bourbon and gin
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like that old violin

A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.
He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going and almost gone.

But the Master comes,
And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Masters’ Hand.

by: Myra Brooks Welch

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Christmas Shopping Strategy

Did you finish your Christmas shopping yet? Did you start shopping last January? I know some people that have their gifts all purchased and wrapped an ready for their spot under the Christmas Tree. They tell me they do this so they can relax and enjoy the Christmas season. Good for them, but what do you mean? Isn’t circling parking spaces close to the store, sitting in traffic, bullying the nice older lady out of your way how you relax? I visited a Shopping Center that had valet parking up close to the shops but you had to pay $7 extra to get those spots? I’d call that double-dipping. Aren’t you trying to get me to spend money in your shops and not in the parking lot? This gets my bah-humbug up!

I wouldn’t like having my Christmas shopping done in October. It would give me too much time on my hands in December for eating cookies and drinking eggnog. The time I spend scrambling for last minute items on my loved ones “Wish Lists” keeps me from over-indulging in “Christmas Cheer”. I guess you could say my shopping strategy is to see what’s still on the shelves close to Dec 24th and I’ll take whats left. I’ve found some creative and unique gifts this way. Who doesn’t want oven mitts for Christmas?

Do you have a shopping strategy that you’ve used for years? Have you learned anything this year that you’d like to share?

Cathi D.

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“Mom, Can you Pick Me Up?”

Can you hear me laughing? I’m laughing out loud as I type this. Just thinking about the call I received from my son makes me giggle.

This is an actual conversation. It’s a conversation (lasting only 30 seconds) that I had with my youngest son last week.

Phone rings, mom answers, it’s son #3 (note he is more than 14).

Son: “Mom can you pick me up”
Mom: “What’s the matter, are you ok?, where are you?”
Son: “On the bus”
Mom: “Why do you need me to pick you up”
Son: “It’s raining”
“Click” – sound of mom hanging up the phone.

My darling son thought it was necessary for me, Mom, to start the car and drive the one block away to meet his bus so he wouldn’t have to walk in the rain. You noticed I said one block not one mile right?

I struggle daily with doing things for my children because I love them and not wanting to do too much for them. How often do we have to show tough love just so we don’t overprotect our kids?

Don’t you remember your parents or grandparents telling you they had to walk miles one way to school each day? Can you even imagine allowing our little angels to do that today? Oh my, that would mean they have to get up that much earlier. Nope, they can’t do it!

Back to my story, not to worry my little darling arrived home within minutes of my hanging up on him. He came into a warm house, got something to eat (lots to eat) and forgot all about me not coming to get him at the bus. Crisis avoided for now. I’m sure it’s not the last I’ll worry about not doing what’s best for my kids. That’s because there is no “play book”, no RIGHT way to do everything. We just have to muddle through as best we can and pray that when they’re grown they look back and realize maybe it’s when I didn’t help them that I really helped them the most. Gosh, I hope so.

Please let me know if you’ve had pearls like this with your family or friends. I’d love to hear from you.

God Bless,
Cathi D.

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