Our tooth fairy has been fired. I forget every night. Teeth are falling out left and right at our house. Lots and lots of braces are in the future for Johnny and I.
Dominic's 47th tooth.
Lillie's third baby tooth to retire.
Rose's first tooth to give it up.
All of John's teeth.
Somebody still has zero teeth at 10 months. Razor gums get her through most meals. I just discovered Mum-Mums for babies. I usually give her one of these while preparing dinner and it will keep her occupied.
Dominic asked me this morning if he could bring four quarters to mass. I thought he was going to put them in the collection basket, but after mass he eagerly jumped up and asked if he could go light a candle.
He went over and lit two candles. He then came back over to me and remembered he had a few more intentions so he went back over and lit a few more.
On the way home from mass, he told me he lit four candles and offered them for specific people. We asked who.
He said, "Megan, Papa Nick, Grandpa Sho-Sho, and Mao."
Do you know who Mao is?
He was the infamous Chinese leader responsible for killing an estimated 40-70 million people.
So, so, so funny and makes me quiver at God's promptings. Why would he have Dominic pray for Mao? So interesting. I wonder how many people prayed for Mao's soul today? Not I, says the blind man.
Dominic, you're such a good, good boy. Always say your prayers.
The premise behind the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Christian Formation Process is that children desire to draw closer to God, but they need the sensitive guidance of the adult as well as the inner guidance of the Holy Spirit to nurture this relationship. The child is already in relationship with God. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a way of journeying with children toward God. At Light of the World, the program seeks to involve children, pre-school and kindergarten age, and adults in a common religious experience through which all can form an authentic faith relationship with God and allow the mystery to penetrate their hearts. Montessori Philosophy
Through Maria Montessori’s observations of the child, she discovered that if a child is given a “prepared environment”, the child will choose those things, which satisfy their essential needs.
The atrium is the prepared environment for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. It is a place of quiet retreat for the children. It is a place that, in Gianna Gobbi’s words, “creates the conditions for silence and reverence and helps the children focus on and listen to God.” In the atrium’s prayer corner, children are helped to enrich their personal prayer language and learn how God comes to us in silence and how silence helps us receive God’s presence.
(Oh, the value of the cassock. So powerful and so often seen around our diocese. Thank you to our good and holy priests.)
The Message and Themes of the Atrium
This specially prepared space contains many materials with which the children work. For example, there is an area in the room set aside for work with the articles of the Mass: a smaller than child-size model altar, chalice, paten, lectionary, sacramentary, tabernacle, chasubles, among other articles. Another area is dedicated to the sacrament of Baptism, another has dioramas depicting key events in the life of Jesus (the Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, the Presentation in the Temple, the visit of the magi, and the Last Supper), yet another for a few select parable materials, and a prayer table set up where the children gather to pray.
The Good News is proclaimed to children in a direct and simple way using Scripture and simple materials and maps to help illustrate the proclamation. Literally, the Word of God is placed in the hands of the children in a way they can easily understand and absorb.
Rose practices pouring and sponging. The classroom is intended to be very quiet so the children can do their work.
Handwashing is a very popular work in the atrium.
The Essential Spiritual Needs of the Child
The parable of the Good Shepherd is the central parable presented to the younger children- age 4-6. The most essential need for a child is to be loved and protected. Through this parable they come to know Jesus as their Good Shepherd who loves and cares for them. Younger children respond primarily in the peaceful enjoyment of God's presence, as called forth by the image of Christ, the Good Shepherd. It engages every aspect of the child's being and orients the child in a trusting and joyful way. In the words of Dr. Sofia Cavaletti, who developed the program, "If we want to help the child draw nearer to God, we should with patience and courage seek to go always closer to the vital nucleus of things. This requires study and prayer. The children themselves will be our teachers if we know how to observe them."
Zellie's favorite is flower arranging. She loves to snip, clip and arrange a bouquet for me every week.
The materials are simple, yet beautiful and attractive to the children. Upon working with the materials repeatedly, the message is absorbed at a deeper level. As mentioned above in the Message and Theme of the Atrium, the children use models, dioramas, figures, geography materials, etc to absorb the content of the presentation. The parish community makes these materials. With this involvement, the Word of God or Liturgical moment provides spiritual formation for the catechist, child and the community.
There is a cycle of presentations given to the children in the atrium. A small group of children are gathered around a rug, a Bible and a candle. For example, the catechist will begin with a Scripture passage in their own words and a brief explanation. A dialogue follows with the children and an explanation of necessary concepts. A solemn reading of the Scripture passage will follow and a candle is lit to show reverence to the Word of God. The materials will then be presented to the children. The presentation ends with a prayer or song. Once material is presented, the child can work with that material whenever they want. Follow up activities (tracing packets, drawings, etc.) are encouraged.
The work of the catechist is to be spiritually prepared. Training for the catechesis is a rich personal journey that involves a considerable amount of commitment. Most catechists that receive the training are transformed. In the atrium, the primary teacher is Christ, not the catechist. Adults are asked to provide for the child's needs and, most importantly, "Become as little children." The catechist and the child listen and ponder together as they immerse themselves in the Mystery of God.
A child’s heart is very open. This program strives to serve the child who asks, "Help me to come closer to God by myself." Catechesis is led by the child, thus reaches all children no matter what their background or culture. The image of the Good Shepherd resonates deeply in their hearts and they respond and receive the proclamation of the Good News with interior satisfaction.
If this wonderful program is offered in your diocese, I highly recommend getting your little ones involved in it.
It is as if a woman has two lives. One before they have children. The other begins once they have a child. Upon becoming a mother, the life I once knew would never be the same again. For the rest of my earthly existence, I will be putting somebody else before myself. To me, that is why children are so good for humanity. They make us think of somebody else if we let them. They give us an opportunity everyday to grow in character, holiness, and virtue by simply answering their little needs. You know it is love when you give yourself so willingly without any monetary reward. My life is for you. I am home for you to give you love, comfort, stability, guidnance, and reassurance. I stay at my post everyday in case that you need me. I correct only in hopes of making you a better person able to contribute back to your family, The Church, and the world.
To a mother, these messages are priceless. These tokens of love fill my heart. You were all playing outside the other day and I came out to check on you. Rose was smiling beautifully and said, "I wrote you a note." Rose Boever, I'll love you 'till the day I die.
Is it hard? Of course it is. Sometimes, it is unfathomably hard. Anything that is worth while is hard. Usually, my hard days with you come out of worry and not trusting that our Good Lord sees all. I've confessed many times my lack of trust. Each of you are so very special that if one of you were gone, a hole would fill our family that is irreplaceable. God made me for you and you for me. You lived within me for nine months. I can remember the day I found out I was expecting each of you. You were all very, very wanted and loved from the very first moments of knowing you were coming into our family. We rejoiced at each birth and thanked God for the gift of this new person. You each were kissed millions of times.
You will never know the extent of how I watch each of you. I see everything. I am an observer by nature. I watch you sleep. I watch you eat. I watch you play. I watch you learn. I watch you swing, ride your bikes, talk to each other. I am constantly looking at your father to see if he is catching what I am catching. Each of you has a specific role in our family. Each of you has a specific role in God's heart. He had to look at you and will you. You were made for a specific point in history to do something great and ultimately be with God in heaven. Why did God make You? To know Him, to Love Him, and to serve Him. That is why you were created.
(We were all outside washing cars and Lillie decided she wanted to make me something for Mother's Day. She was gone for quite some time. I wish I would have been watching from a far on this one. She made a banner and taped it to the mantel. It read "Happy Mom Day. I love Mom." She was beaming with pride. She taped it to the mantel because that is what they did at my baby shower. Capital C. Capital U. Capital T. Capital E. As always, I am honored to be your mother. My life is for you. I am so glad each of you were born. I couldn't love you more.
For the past several years, John, his father, and usually several of his sisters participate in the Lincoln half marathon. The whole family talks about the event all year. There is a lot of chatter of whose going to break whose record, who won't finish the race, whose signed up to run, but won't train so they quietly back out. It is something I look forward to every year. We've made it quite a tradition of having a spaghetti feed the night before. One year, John didn't train at all, stayed up until 3:30 AM with his older brother eating chicken wings and McDonalds. He still ran the race four hours later, finished, and did very well. What a guy! Our children have started looking forward to the event every year also. We have four strategic spots we go to at 7:20 AM. First, we stand by the Cathedral. The runners have just gotten started so everybody is real chipper! We then head to Runza where one can tell the race is getting pretty strenuous, then onto a spot near Blessed Sacrament which is where John always says is the "key" spot because the race is almost done and he likes us there to cheer and encourage. We then race down to Memorial Stadium to cheer him across the finish line. It is a bit crazy getting everybody in and out of the car 42,000 times, hats, coats, mittens, diapers, food, signs, but it is all worth it to see John run. Though this year had a different ending. We went to all our usual spots and John usually runs with his father, Wally whom had just turned 60 years old the Wednesday before the race. Wally's knee had been giving him trouble the past months so John was out a head of him. I didn't wait at each stop to see Wally because I was trying to stay up with John because he was going for a new personal best and trying to beat Wally's record.
As John crossed the finish line, my phone rang and it was his mother. I thought they were in the stadium also calling to tell me they saw John finish. I answered the phone saying "Did you see him?"
I heard, "Lindsay, Wally collapsed. They are doing CPR. They are taking him to Bryan Hospital." WHAT????? It was one of the those moments when life zeros in on the moment and the world around you stops. I was in a stadium with thousands of other people and trying to keep all six kids with me in this packed crowd. I couldn't find John nor Anne.
It wasn't registering. I initially thought he was just dehydrated or exhausted, but then realized it was more serious. She asked me to wait for John and my sister-in-law Anne so we could all head to the Emergency Room.
John decided to walk back to his car because he couldn't find me. When he called, I had to tell him the news. So heart breaking.
While running, Wally's left arm began to hurt so he loosened the strap he had on his arm that was carrying his phone. His arm continued to hurt so he tried to make it to the side of the road where he leaned up against a car and collapsed.
He had a massive heart attack. At that very moment, a cardiologist ran by who noticed him down and asked the lady who was assisting him if he was okay. She thought he was just dehydrated. The cardiologist kept running, but then circled back to check on him. He found no pulse and started CPR immediately. At the same time, a Army Special forces medic saw Wally struggling and then collapse. He said that he saw his eyes roll back into his head and had no heart beat. Between the two heroic men, they went to work. Additionally, a good friend of ours was on his way to mass and his wife noticed these two men doing CPR. He is also a doctor so he jumped out to help Wally. It wasn't until they were loading him into the ambulance did he realize who the name the medics were saying really was. God provided three doctors to save his life. Unbelievable. One man had a mask on him so they were able to give him better life saving breaths. The ambulance arrived and had to shock his heart twice to get it beating again. It is so crazy to me that he was gone for a while, but now with us. Truly, a second opportunity in life.
The medic reported thinking that there is no way this man will make it. He told his wife that he had a 15% chance of survival. The cardiologist said he stopped to help because he knew this man must have a family, must have someone he didn't get to say goodbye to. So very thoughtful of him. The medic also said that for some reason when they loaded Wally into the ambulance he turned and yelled, "WAKE UP."
By the time we arrived at the hospital, Wally was on a ventilator and in a paralyzed state so they could figure out what was going on. After examination, it was concluded he had a massive heart attack with the artery the medical field calls "The Widow Maker" being blocked. Due to its name, unless you receive immediate assistance, you are gone. Unbelievable. The doctors put a stint in to open the artery. The first day was rough, but Wally made gradual improvements. Each day, he became stronger and stronger and by Wednesday which was just three days later, he walked out of the hospital. Crazy.
The event was WAY up there on the amazing powers of Our God. It has also left me with so many questions. Wally is in such incredible shape. He has run every day most of his adult life. He eats very well, drinks his red wine, follows a low sodium diet, eats his dark chocolates, but God in His wisdom chose Wally to go through this event only to save his life and provide the circumstances surrounding him to be able to life longer. Wally runs most of the time by himself on trails. If this would have happened any other time, we wouldn't have him with us. Then above all people to stop, it is a doctor that Wally knows well.
Why do we ever worry about a silly darn thing????? I've been asking myself that question a lot this week. For this week, I am so grateful to God for saving Wally's life for John, John's mother, his other 7 children and 24 grandchildren. I love Wally and am so glad I've told him that before so many times. He is a remarkable person, father, human, husband, son, etc., etc. He is so kind and loving. He is very dear to me. Wally definately is one of those people that if the world goes south, you definately want to have him with you not only to survive physically, but his understanding of the spiritual world is remarkable. He would give us all strength to do what we needed to do at the right time.
He is home now resting and being very well taken care of. He hopes to run again and I am sure he will because he loves everything outdoors from running, hiking, sailing, gardening. Thank you, Lord for more time with this wonderful person.
Below are several news articles and interviews about the event.