My Bucket List

bucket list

To lay in the grass, covered by a litter of golden retriever puppies.

To meet Gavin DeGraw, and sing with him. Just me and him.

To go on a cruise, and eat and drink and dance the night away!

To play the piano with ease.

To be in a theatre play, and act and sing. Or maybe just the church choir!

To finally get my first book published, and continue to write another one, all my own.

To visit Alaska – see the glacier, Denali, and ride the train from Anchorage to Seward!  Go on a sled ride with the huskies.  Mush!

To visit Australia and New Zealand. I believe they have gorgeous landscapes.

To have a beer in Germany during Oktoberfest.

To visit Ireland and drink in the lush greenery.

To take my beloved great nieces and nephews to Disneyland and watch the wonderment on their little faces.

To swim again with the dolphins, this time in the wild, where you can frolic and play in their natural environment.

To make a difference in people’s lives in a positive way.  I love my seniors in swim class, and so many of them remind me of my dearly departed mom whom I miss so much!

Most importantly, going to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve with all the candles and beautiful voices rejoicing in the birth of Jesus, and then to wake up on Christmas morning snuggled up with a special loved one, having coffee in front of a crackling fireplace surrounded by the scent of a beautiful Christmas tree, with only a few meaningful gifts underneath.  Spending the rest of the day with beloved family and friends.

When my bucket list is complete, I will be ready to cross over to the Rainbow Bridge and be re-united with all my fur babies, who will then follow me into heaven to see my beloved family and friends who have passed before me.

What’s on YOUR bucket list?

The true meaning of friendship

 

happy people

I think my regular readers know that I have been going through a medical situation.  I had my right hip replaced on May 14th, and then it got infected and I was back in the hospital with more surgery etc. on May 31st.

It hasn’t been an easy ride.  At all.  Pretty bumpy as a matter of fact.  Irregular heart rate during surgery, skyrocketing blood sugar, vomiting for days, blood transfusion, blown out IV veins, NO veins, etc.  And that was just the first few days.  Now I am dealing with a bad infection that could jeopardize the future of my hip.  I had another surgery, another 4 day stay in hospital, PICC line (thank God), at home nursing care now and daily infusions.  Actually, today I did my own infusion, because insurance doesn’t pay for daily nurses.

When I came home from rehab back in May I thought I was over the worst and could walk pretty good and pain was minimal. I was ecstatic.  Now, I feel like I have regressed and am way, way back.  I have pretty significant pain, can’t walk without my walker, and am homebound. 😦  I still don’t know what my future holds for me and have to live day-to-day.

BUT.  There’s always a but.  In this case, a good but.  This whole situation has made me realize who my real friends are, and I have been become much closer to my family, especially my sister.  People have prayed, sent cards, visited, sent flowers, presents, and most of all have supported me in this ordeal.  I can actually FEEL the outpouring of love and prayers floating up to heaven.

When I was in the hospital this past weekend, I went to the Chapel on Saturday night during my nightly walk.  The hospital was pretty much empty.  Who wants to stay in a hospital on the weekend, besides this girl?  Anyway, the chapel was very peaceful and had a login book you could write requests/prayers to God in.  So I sat down and wrote 2 journal pages of thoughts to God.  I asked him for healing help and also thanked him for the new hip he gave me, and could I please keep it?  I told him I would take very care of it.  I ended my journaling with a plea for a Blackhawks win, and he gave me both Sat and Sun win, so I know he is listening to me.  The next day, Sunday, the Chaplain came to visit me in my room and said how much he enjoyed reading my entry.  He was a nice man and stayed to chat for a while.  I told him my fears and he helped calm me with thoughts of Jesus taking care of me.  So, thank you Jesus, for everything so far, and yet to come.

And thank you to all my friends and family, without all of you I wouldn’t be the person I am today, and I appreciate all the help that has been offered and given.  Love to you all.

 

 

 

Bah Humbug, I mean Happy Easter!

easterbunnies

Typically when people think of Easter, it’s all about easter eggs and candy and cute little bunny rabbits.  Ham for dinner, hopefully with your family and friends.

Except it’s not supposed to be all about bunnies and chocolate and jelly beans.  It’s the day that Christ has risen from the dead, after being horribly crucified and dying for us.  Pain.  Suffering.  Blood.

cross

But nobody wants to think about that.  They run out and buy little rabbits for their kids, forever dooming them to a life spent in a tiny cage with nobody paying attention to them after the first day.  Do you know how long a rabbit can live in a cage?  A long time.  Just ask my sister.  The pet store does NOT take them back.  Many will release them into the wild, sentencing them to certain death by more experienced predators.  Maybe that’s better than sitting in a cage.

The candy and the easter eggs are fairly harmless, albeit to your waistline.  But some families go WAY beyond that.  Another gift giving opportunity!  Bicycles and new spring clothes and iPods and iPads….the list goes on.

Call me a scrooge.  I don’t believe that children need pricey Easter baskets full of gifts that the giver probably put on their credit card which will take them ten years to pay off the balance.  And don’t get me started on Christmas.  All these RELIGIOUS holidays have turned into a marketing frenzy for stores.  Presents galore!

Now, don’t get me wrong, nothing cuter than an Easter egg hunt with the little ones for that perfect Kodak moment.  But too many people are too busy with the extravaganza they have made these holidays into to even go to church.  Too busy shopping, baking, cooking etc. to go to church, and give an hour to God to praise him for sending his only begotten Son to earth to SUFFER and DIE for our sins.

And that makes me sad.  And a scrooge, I guess.  I’m done with the Easter baskets and presents etc.  If parents want to give their kids presents, I’m all for it.  But beyond that, I think it is unnecessary.  I love getting together with my family, but we should be rejoicing in the MEANING of the day, and not about how many gifts we bring.

The saddest part of all are the people who think of themselves as good Catholics or Christians and spent a lot of money to send their kids to private Catholic school, and then never go to church.  I sure don’t understand that one.  What is that teaching their children?  What kind of example is that setting?

Trust me, I am no Saint.  I am not a good example of a good Catholic.  I go to church willy nilly, sometimes a lot, sometimes a little.  I went to the Easter Vigil last night for the first time in my life, and I went to Catholic school for 10 years!  I grew up in a Catholic family who rarely went to church on Sundays, and it used to embarrass me on Mondays when my friends at school would ask why they never saw me at church on Sundays.  My mom and dad were hard workers and I suppose they thought it was their day of rest.  After all, us kids went to mass every day before school.  That was enough.  And as kids, we agreed!

So, I guess it is a personal interaction with God.  Some people say they don’t need to go to church to pray.  I myself feel better to go to God’s house to pray.  It gives me peace, and I mostly enjoy the familiar ceremony.  As long as you feel at peace with God and yourself, you should be go to go.  As for me, I hope that God accepts me into the kingdom of heaven, and I am not left behind.

heaven

 

Is there only one true Jesus? – REDUX

Now that we are “Popeless”, and Lent to boot, my Catholic friends and I have been having “Christian” dinners together on Friday nights.  (This means meatless).  We have been having some lively discussions on the reason behind the Papal retirement.  I mean, he quit.  There is no quitting in the Papacy!  I’m sure to non-Catholics, all these cover-ups and conspiracy theories are making for a lot of “told you so” fodder.  Anyway, I originally wrote this blog over a year ago, but it seems very relevant today.

Last night I got into an very interesting conversation about my renewed interest in God, Jesus, and all things religion.  Lately I have been reading the Left Behind series of books, and what a revelation the Book of Revelations has become to me!

I went to Catholic school back in the days of real priests and nuns as teachers.  Since most of them were not necessarily educated to be teachers, they relied very heavily on teaching reading, writing and religion.  The whole school attended Mass every morning, and twice on holy days.  I think I can still recite the entire thing in Latin!  Which actually turned out very useful to me, as Latin is the root of all Romance languages, and my love of reading and writing is with me to this day.

I grew up receiving most of the sacraments and going to church and never questioning the teaching of the church.  That has changed since I began questioning evolutionism versus creationism.  I have my own theory on that which combined the two to my satisfaction.  (I will write a blog on my theory soon!)

Then along came Left Behind and a few other books I have read along that genre.  It really made sense to me.  I had never really thought much about the “rapture” and all that would happen afterwards.  I read the words years ago but never studied them or knew their true meaning.  Also, I have always been troubled about what would happen to all those good people on earth who believe in their own God, like Buddha and Allah etc.  And the Jewish faith, who is still waiting for their Messiah.  Is it really true that they cannot go to heaven because they don’t believe in Jesus?  Do they go to their own heaven?  Or are they “left behind”, and become true believers during the Tribulation?

Crikey, I remember back in grade school when I thought my non-Catholic (but still Christian) friends couldn’t go to heaven with me and I cried and cried.  That’s what the nuns taught us, and we all bought it hook, line and sinker.  I think that is why some people think the Catholic church is like a cult.  I am proud to be a Catholic, but don’t buy into 100% of their doctrine.  Which they change.  More than once.  Confusing.  Also they don’t aways practice what they preach.  What?!?! you may say.  Think about the cover up with priests/boys.  Enough said.  Moving on.

The idea of an Antichrist and Armagedon has always fascinated me.  But I never thought about the reality of that actual scenario.  The Left Behind books, even though classified as fiction, give me a believable picture of how it will happen and what life will really be like. And if so, I certainly don’t want to be left behind, as I have I stated in a previous blog!

Our conversation last night debated the question on why God would not let a good person into heaven, if they follow all the commandments and moral code, but don’t necessarily believe in Jesus like he wants.  Many people figure that if they are Christian and live a decent life that they get a free pass into heaven.  I’m afraid that isn’t true.  I’m afraid I may not make it there, even though I am a believer.  But I am going to try my hardest.

I am glad that I had good friends to have this interesting debate with (thanks Amy, Kathy and Lin!).  Everyone has their own beliefs and their slant on religion.  I learn so much from other people.  I hope to keep an open mind and become a better person.

Is there only one true Jesus?

Last night I got into an very interesting conversation about my renewed interest in God, Jesus, and all things religion.  Lately I have been reading the Left Behind series of books, and what a revelation the Book of Revelations has become to me!

I went to Catholic school back in the days of real priests and nuns as teachers.  Since most of them were not necessarily educated to be teachers, they relied very heavily on teaching reading, writing and religion.  The whole school attended Mass every morning, and twice on holy days.  I think I can still recite the entire thing in Latin!  Which actually turned out very useful to me, as Latin is the root of all Romance languages, and my love of reading and writing is with me to this day.

I grew up receiving most of the sacraments and going to church and never questioning the teaching of the church.  That has changed since I began questioning evolutionism versus creationism.  I have my own theory on that which combined the two to my satisfaction.

Then along came Left Behind and a few other books I have read along that genre.  It really made sense to me.  I had never really thought much about the “rapture” and all that would happen afterwards.  I read the words years ago but never studied them or knew their true meaning.  Also, I have always been troubled about what would happen to all those good people on earth who believe in their own God, like Buddha and Allah etc.  And the Jewish faith, who is still waiting for their Messiah.  Is it really true that they cannot go to heaven because they don’t believe in Jesus?  Do they go to their own heaven?  Or are they “left behind”, and become true believers during the Tribulation?

Crikey, I remember back in grade school when I thought my non-Catholic (but still Christian) friends couldn’t go to heaven with me and I cried and cried.  That’s what the nuns taught us, and we all bought it hook, line and sinker.  I think that is why some people think the Catholic church is like a cult.  I am proud to be a Catholic, but don’t buy into 100% of their doctrine.  Which they change.  More than once.  Confusing.  Also they don’t aways practice what they preach.  What?!?! you may say.  Think about the cover up with priests/boys.  Enough said.  Moving on.

The idea of an Antichrist and Armagedon has always fascinated me.  But I never thought about the reality of that actual scenario.  The Left Behind books, even though classified as fiction, give me a believable picture of how it will happen and what life will really be like. And if so, I certainly don’t want to be left behind, as I have I stated in a previous blog!

Our conversation last night debated the question on why God would not let a good person into heaven, if they follow all the commandments and moral code, but don’t necessarily believe in Jesus like he wants.  Many people figure that if they are Christian and live a decent life that they get a free pass into heaven.  I’m afraid that isn’t true.  I’m afraid I may not make it there, even though I am a believer.  But I am going to try my hardest.

I am glad that I had good friends to have this interesting debate with (thanks Amy, Kathy and Lin!).  Everyone has their own beliefs and their slant on religion.  I learn so much from other people.  I hope to keep an open mind and become a better person.

Will Tebow Prevail?

Today is a big day.  For Tim Tebow.  For his believers.  For his team.  For God.  He is facing a formidable duel today.  Almost like a duel to the death.  If he wins, he will rocket to even more fame.  If he loses, all of his haters will rejoice in his failure.  And believing in God will take a hit too.

Tim Tebow.  You either love him or hate him.  But.  He did not ASK for all this notoriety.  He did not ASK for all this hoopla surrounding him.  He did not ASK to be called God’s quarterback.  One thing I do know.  Tim Tebow was praising the Lord in the same manner way back in grade school, high school, college…..long before he started a game for the Denver Broncos.  But for some reason, his believing in God and thanking the Lord has become a bone of contention now.  People don’t want to believe that God has played any kind of role in his performance.

Does he?  Maybe.  I can’t say for sure that God has a hand in a football game.  But I do know that God has had a hand in the strength of faith that Tim Tebow has, and how he passes that on to his teammates.  So yes, in a way, God has a hand in it.  In some way, God has his hand in everything.  How do you think we all got here?  Whether you believe in creationism or evolution or both, a higher power created the seed.

So to all you haters and non-believers out there who make fun of him or me, shut your mouth and find something else to mock.  You always will.

You go, Tebow.  I believe.

 

I don’t want to be Left Behind

I was born and raised Irish Catholic.  Catholic schools until junior year of high school.  Church on Sundays.  Singing in the choir.  Saying the rosary.  Gathering up those “saving graces”.

Somewhere along the way, it seemed like it was not cool to profess your faith in God and shout to the heavens that Jesus is our Lord and Savior.  People made fun of the “born agains”.  The general consensus was that if you were Christian and led a good life you had a free pass to heaven, but there was no need to shout it to the heavens.

Nope.  Not.  Don’t believe that anymore.  Even before I read this eye-opening book, I realized that I needed to REALLY let God into my life.  Why should it be embarrassing to say out loud that you believe that a higher power created life as you know it and that you want to be welcomed into the kingdom of Heaven?  When the alternative is nothingness or Hell?

I had a personal revelation this past summer when a tragedy happened to some friends of mine.  I realized that faith can pull you through the darkness and sadness and bring you back into the light.  I admired them and their church so much, it I attended services there for awhile.  It was a refreshing change from the same old service every Sunday at the Catholic church, with all the sit, stand, kneel etc.  At their church there was singing and bands and speakers and praising the Lord, and nobody was self-conscious to show their love for the Lord and each other.  Isn’t that what it should be all about????

Now don’t get me wrong, I still consider myself a Catholic and still go to my Catholic church too.  It is comforting to me because of its sameness.  I can let my mind wander and speak to God in my head and not miss a beat of the familiar ceremony.  The choir at my church is superb, especially at Christmas time, and I love to just sit and listen.  Music and singing move my soul.  My Catholic church was a place of refuge for me to go to after my divorce.  I would sit in the back row, with tears streaming down my face for the entire service.  Some of the regulars would pat my shoulder as I passed by, and gave me comfort.  I was too embarrassed to seek professional help or even go and talk to a priest, but felt I got it in the back pew of the church every Sunday.

So I will say this now.  I am a Christian, and I believe that Jesus is my Lord and Savior, and I want to go straight to heaven.  I want to see my dearly departed family members there.  I want all my puppies and kittys to meet me at the Rainbow Bridge.  I want to earn my wings.  If you are a Christian, I highly recommend that you read this book and the whole series.  It may give you a different perspective on how you look at your faith.  It is not good enough to just be a Christian by default.  You must make it so.  I don’t want YOU to be left behind either.