Thursday, April 30, 2015

Cutting carpet

So I single handedly removed all the carpet from upstairs and brought it to the dump this week.  I love dump guys.  They over-looked the fact that my dump card was expired AND helped me unload my carpet into the dumpster!  I also love that God has given me the grace to do a lot of things and at the same time sent me so much help.  Like he wants me to not be lazy but he also doesn't want me to have a breakdown and end up a patient in my own ED psych hall.  He's good that way.

I had a revelation in the midst of cutting carpet this week.  I was about half way through, sitting in an empty room with a razor, and cutting down the middle of the carpet so I could carry it more easily.  I sat back on my heels and thought, "Lord! Why are all my friends having babies and I'm cutting carpet and trying to find a way to go live in Honduras?"  And then I realized I kinda really want to go to Honduras.  And that was good...and funny.  Because in all of this planning and stuff I've kinda had this "If God wills it, it will work out" feeling without actually, uh, feeling a desire to go.  And now, well, I kinda really want to go.  But if it doesn't work out...that's okay too!

A friend is coming into town in two weeks...hoping to head to Newport and show her this cute seaside town.  The Volvo Sea Race (international yacht race that occurs every three years) will be there while she is visiting...hope to go!  There are just so many interesting things in life...I'm always turning a corner and discovering another.

And on a more serious note...please pray and donate to Nepal Relief following this tragic earthquake.  I've heard from my guide and friend (from my recent trip to the Himalayas).  He and his family are fine and their house is standing but cracked.  However a lot of the guides from his company (I was told 50) lost their houses.  And so many people lost their lives.  I was in Haiti doing relief work after their earthquake and I can only imagine.  And if you can only pray...please pray. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Honduras...code for someplace else...where am I going??  No clue.  Why do I want to move on from a great job with great people doing something meaningful and important?  Not quite sure.  I want to chase the something "else"  Is it God's Will?  I certainly hope so...and I'm convinced if it's not that He won't let it happen.  My life is so beautiful, exciting and odd. Always a new twist, turn or event.  A coworker that I hadn't seen in a while saw my tanned face today and asked where I had been.  Without thinking I answered nonchalantly, "Oh I just finished a cycling tour in Holland and forgot to bring a hat."  He started laughing and answered, "Of course you did!  I was just cycling in Europe myself...actually I wasn't but I'm not surprised you were." And it struck me how funny God is to give me this adventurous life...but a desire for a spouse and children amidst the excitement of seeing the world and saving lives.  I must say God is good and knows exactly what He is about...but the older I get and the more I do...the more I narrow down the kind of spouse I could love.  But what do I know?  I trust you who are GOD and not I, she who is not!

Sunday, April 26, 2015


So my personal inside joke on this trip was to think of everything I saw as "Hollish" as in "what language do you speak, Hollish?"  The fact that the Netherlands speaks Deutsch and is made up of Holland plus a bunch of other provinces was a fact unknown to me less than a month ago.  Another unknown fact: legalizing marijuana is a symptom not a feat.  The churches were closed but no one appeared to want to enter them anyway.  So sad and yet so strange.  Alongside the vomit, there were beautiful canals, architecture and flowers EVERYWHERE.  Holland was amazing and beautiful...memorable in its own way...but how sad to see a dying faith.  I think if one lived there a remnant must be present...but to a Catholic tourist looking for a Sunday was a fail...unfortunately.  

Otherwise...I loved this country!  Built below sea level, windmills and wooden shoes populate the countryside...flat and perfect for bicycling.  We spent our nights on a barge and our days on windy plains following the water to our next town.  Not sure why I didn't expect that a flat country with over 4000 windmills wouldn't be windy but the amount of wind we experienced daily was...well...a surprise.  The sun, on the other hand, was a pleasant and very appreciated gift!  I had bought rain gear specifically for this trip!

Here are some beautiful pictures of flowers, the purpose of my trip...but in return God gave me beautiful friendships, sights, delicious foods and a chance to love him in a reflection of His amazing beauty.  :o)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Easter in France

I just returned from a beautiful pilgrimage to France followed by 7 days of cycling through Dutch countryside to take in the spring flowers.  So much spiritual and natural beauty for three weeks...I don't want to climb down from this cloud!

We started on Holy Thursday at the Church of St John Vianney...what better place to be on the eve of our Lord washing the feet of the twelve disciples than with the Cure of Ars?  Together with a beautiful group of young, healthy Catholic professionals all  aflame for Christ I experienced the Easter Triduum in St John Vianney's parish church with the descendants of his sheep.  After a year of dryness I was flooded with consolations and joy.  Yay!

Our pilgrimage made a large circle from Paris to Ars to Lyon to Paray le Monial (St Margaret Mary Alcoque of the Sacred Heart) to Lourdes to Avignon (where Popes hid out until St Catherine goaded them to return to Rome) to Bordeaux to the home of St Louis de Montford.  These saints became more real to me after seeing their homes, where they lived, where they suffered and how they served God.  I loved every moment! (Well except once when I had a deep sadness threaten to take my peace...but it didn't so enough said!)

Some beautiful moments for me: when I was in Paray le Monial my friend and I snuck into this tiny hotel bar that was more like a little morning room on the main street in order to warm up and get a cup of coffee.  A priest and two old women tried to talk to us but the priest, Italian, was the only one who spoke a little English and we didn't speak Italian or French (like the women).  The priest did his best and we found out the women were both widows, retired, and went to Medjugoria every year.  They had just returned and wanted to give us a blessing.  Incidentally one of the women had a daughter in law with my name so she was very excited to pull out her phone and show me lots of pictures.  

Then the Italian priest said he had to go and I asked him for a blessing.  He happily gave it to us then turned and headed out the door.  I called out to him that we would pray for him.  As he went through the door, almost shutting it, he stopped as if thinking hard and then leaned back into the room.  Looking directly at me he said in Italian, "God has a mission for you" ("Dio ha una missione per te"). Then he shut the door and left.  My friends looked at me and said, "Did he just say what I think he said?"  And I laughed and said, "He just means that I have to pray for him."

Another beautiful moment was after I had shared with the group the story of my mother's healing from a renal tumor at Lourdes.  That evening we had the rosary procession and somehow I ended up with just Father, separated from the group on the other side of the plaza.  After the procession he turned and asked of his own volition if we could pray together for my brother and my parents.  We prayed together and then he gave me a blessing, making the sign of the cross on my forehead.  

And one final event: In Lourdes we were privileged to meet with the head of the office for the Approval of Miracles.  The physician who runs it is Italian and has a sister and his mother living in the same state I live in!  His sister even teaches at the university I went to!  He was super funny and kept us on the edge of our chair for the hour that he met with us.  Then he invited the four of us that are medical to join the medical society at Lourdes along with the 4000 other professionals who belong from all of the world.  We were then sent to his secretary who had us fill out paperwork and register in a large book.  She gave us some books and a special pin.  The pin is to be worn whenever we are in Lourdes.  It is so others will know they can ask us for medical assistance if needed.  It also means that we can walk right behind our Lady during the rosary procession because historically the medical providers walk there to offer any assistance to those they meet along the way.

I could go on with more anecdotal stories but this is getting long.  Suffice it to say this was a very, very blessed trip!

Oh, and I'll share some of the beauty of the Netherlands in my next blog.  As a friend of mine so often says, "God is good!  All the time!"