Monday, August 31, 2009



It has been a crazy 18 months and 18 days at my house...and...cancer seems to dominate every conversation.

My baby girl...Theresa Tuxedo...died...Saturday morning.

That is better the above picture.

Theresa was our home...on December 18, 2000. She was one of three babies I found when I came home for lunch that day to check on Precious...her mommy...whom I knew was due any day.

When the other puppies began to stand and walk around...Theresa still lay on her chest...dragging her back legs behind her. I took her to the vet, beside myself. Something was wrong with this adorable little girl.

The vet told me she was a "swimmer puppy." He taught me exercises and sent me home to do physical therapy with Theresa to help her legs grow stronger. For months afterward, I would pick her up and exercise her legs...before I went to work in the morning...when I came home at lunchtime...twice each evening...and every two hours on weekends...praying all the way.

Not only did her legs strengthen...and she began to walk...but, she began to RUN around the house at high speeds...and so, earned the nickname: "SpeedRacer," from my older son.

Theresa was such a success story...born crippled to SpeedRacer only a few short months!

A very sweet little girl with the humans in the house, Theresa took no guff from the other canines...or the boss. Several years ago, she began barking loudly at the then pastor as I brought her before him, at the Annual Blessing of the Animals. Before I could tell him her name, he joked: "This one's named 'Rosemarie,' right?"

She was my good baby girl. When she went for her annual physical this past June I wanted to know what food I should give her, because she had put on a great deal of weight. Her belly was very large for a little dog. Her weight had increased from 24 to over 27 pounds.

The vet said she wasn't fat she had a tumor growing inside her.

Talk about feeling like an idiot!

Her bloodwork showed her white blood cell count was very high...over forty thousand. The doctor put her on a two week regimen of meds, and said that if they helped he would perform surgery to remove the tumor.

I went home, started the meds and began praying. I asked St. Peregrine, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Jude to intercede for Theresa as well.

After two weeks, we returned and surgery was scheduled. The doctor said he didn't know if Theresa would survive the surgery...I continued praying...and she did!

The doctor had gotten the entire tumor out...over three pounds worth...but said he couldn't be sure that the cancer hadn't seeded elswhere in Theresa's body. Complicating it all was the fact that the original tumor was in a mammary gland, but the biopsy showed it was a particularly fast growing and aggressive bone cancer that was involved...even though it was not in Theresa's bones!

Her blood count fell to a more normal thirteen thousand, and she came home with an E-collar and a drain in her belly:


The prognosis was guarded...but good.

Until, I found another growth on her shoulder shortly after the drain and stitches had come out.

The growth was removed in a second surgery, and Theresa was racing through the house, being her normal loving, gentle self...a demeanor that had not changed during any part of her journey here on earth.

I began to call her Terry Terrific!

She returned to the vet last Saturday to have the stitches in her shoulder removed and it was then that two more growths were found in her belly. She came home with more meds and an appointment in two weeks to see if they grew.

By Monday, August 24th...merely two days later...the two growths had doubled in size. On Tuesday, I was in the dining room and heard something fall, down the hall. I went to investigate and saw nothing.

Theresa was sitting in the hallway so I gave her a pat, and that is when I noticed her breathing was labored. As I sat watching her for a minute, she fell forward onto the tile floor. That was the noise I had heard. I felt the growths and found they had doubled again...overnight.

I brought her to the vet that afternoon, he gave her a steroid shot and more meds. After he took an x-ray, he brought me into the operating room to show me that the cancer had spread to Theresa's lungs. And, something was blocking her stomach as well.

I thought he was going to tell me that we would have to put Theresa down...but to my surprise he gave me meds to make her comfortable...all the while apologizing to me...and telling me that all we could do now was make her comfortable. Through it all, Theresa did not utter a sound...aside from all the barking she had done at the other dogs in the waiting room...before we saw the doctor.

I had to get to work, so I asked the doctor if I could bring Theresa with me. He told me by all means...bring her everywhere!

And so, I did.

Theresa came to work with me that night, and every night last week. She strutted on the leash even as her little sides worked hard for air. She sat by my side at my desk each evening. She was so excited that she was going everywhere with me in the my aunt's to let the man in who diagnosed the leak in the basement, and the following day to let the man in to fix the sprinklers. Each time I went to leave the house last week, Theresa raced down the stairs and sat by the door waiting for me to put on her leash.

She just strutted on that leash...pulling me along.

To the very end, Theresa lived up to her nickname: "SpeedRacer!"

But then, late Friday night, something changed. I was already in bed and Theresa wasn't coming into the room to sleep by my she always did. She stayed in the hall sitting upright with my younger son's bedroom door seemingly supporting her. I went to down on the floor with her...and...between her demeanor and the demeanor of the other dogs...realized the end was very near.

Lucky, her dad...ran into the bedroom and hid on the other side of the bed. Her brother, Mr. Wiggles (he's a whole other story all by himself!) sat upright in the hallway as if standing guard...very uncharacteristic for him, since he likes to be the center of attention.

Theresa put her head on my leg, and I pet and consoled her. Her eyes were not right, and I knew that whatever my prayer...this time around...God's Will was going to be very hard to take!

My sweet little Theresa snuggled as close as she could, and I kissed her on the bridge of her nose. I thought about how much I despised cancer, and spoke some of the same things to Theresa, that I had spoken to my aunt back in April. I told her that she had fought a good fight, but there was nothing more we could do...that I loved her, and would miss her...but that the time for suffering was over. I made the Sign of the Cross on her forehead.

Theresa licked the tears from my face, and just sat with me for a couple of hours. When she went back to her position by my son's door, I tried to help her rest on a pillow...but she would not have any part of it.

She sat upright that entire night.

The next morning Theresa had an appointment with the vet. She was walking and acting normally, with the exception of the still labored breathing, but even my older son commented on how different her eyes were.

As for me, I told my husband, if the vet thought another surgery would help...schedule it!

My heart, though, knew better.

I had Catechist Training that morning, so my husband took Theresa to the vet. I gave her a kiss...told her I loved her...and...made the Sign of the Cross on her head...before she left.

The last picture I have in my mind of Theresa, is of her plopping down on the porch, not wanting to leave with my husband. He picked her up, carried her to the truck and they were on their way.

As I was driving to the church, I got the call that on the way to the vet, Theresa looked over her shoulder at my husband...sighed...and, dropped her head on the seat. He could not find a pulse. He rushed the rest of the way to the vet...they tried to revive her...but, it was too late.

Theresa was gone...another statistic in the insanity that is cancer!

We are heartbroken...and, again struggling with the "how-comes" and the "if-onlys"...that accompany illness and death...whether it be the death of a man, woman, child, or beloved pet.

Theresa is now at rest.

Her earthly journey ended.

I know that animals do not have the same souls as humans...but, because they are energy...I do hope and pray...that the energy that was Theresa...somehow returned on the energy's Source...our Heavenly Father!

My husband simply insists: "All dogs go to heaven!"

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal.
Love leaves a memory no one can steal.

~ From a Headstone in Ireland ~

For more information on





Thursday, August 27, 2009


I found this Costa Rican lizard through @Eco_Costa_Rica on Twitter. For some reason, the link wouldn't work when I re-tweeted, so I am posting it here.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
~Ce­cil F. Al­ex­an­der~

Sunday, August 23, 2009



Faith is a gift of God to man and it is, at the same time, man's free and total entrusting of himself to God.

Faith is the docile listening to the Word of the Lord, that is the "lamp" for our steps and the "light" on our way.

If we open our hearts to Christ with confidence, if we let ourselves be conquered by him, we too can experience, together with the Curé d'Ars, "that our only happiness on this earth is to love God, and to know that He loves us."

Let us ask the Virgin Mary, always to keep alive in us this faith impregnated by love, which made her, the humble girl of Nazareth, Mother of God and model for all believers.
~ Pope Benedict XVI ~

Friday, August 21, 2009


I received these pictures in my e-mail...the pictures and the story must be shared!

There is a huge rock near a gravel pit on Highway 25 in rural Iowa. For generations, kids have painted slogans, names, and obscenities on this rock, changing its character many times. A few months back, the rock received its latest paint job, and since then it has been left completely undisturbed.

It's quite an impressive sight. The flag is not draped over the's actually painted on the rock, too.







Here's the artist: Ray 'Bubba' Sorensen:


Thank you, Ray, for sharing your God-given talents with the whole world!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009



The other day, I received the following e-mail from my cousin whose son and daughter-in-law...both...are in service to our country:

Have you ever seen one of our military walking past you and wanted to convey to them your thanks, but weren't sure how, or it felt awkward? Recently, a gentleman from Seattle created a gesture which could be used to express your thanks and has started a movement to get the word out. Please everybody take just a moment to watch...The Gratitude Campaign...and then forward it to your friends!


While I was on YouTube, I found the following video in the same line-up as The Gratitude Campaign...

This has been a difficult year for so many of us...death, economic woes, family hardships, illness...and, on...and, on...and, on. Yet, even as we lament the hard times, we must never lose sight of the good that is around us always and everywhere.

Both these videos started me counting my blessings:

The butterfly that greeted me as I left my home yesterday afternoon to go to work (that's it in the picture above, taken when it settled on it's purple perch).

The majesty of God in the stunning sunsets (that's a picture I took of one on the post entitled The Feast of the Transfiguration) I see each evening as I take Horseblock Road home from Auntie Dee's house after collecting the mail.

My husband and sons who stand side by side with me through the good times...and...the less than good times.

My friends who lift my spirits...even as they extend a shoulder to cry on.

Our pastor, deacon, and so many parishioners who pray for me each and every day.

My probably call them dogs :)...who greet me with unconditional love each and every time I enter the house...even if I have only been gone a get something from the car!

My cousins...with whom I have reconnected...who send me prayers, blessings, and wonderful inspiring e-mails like the one above.

The waves on the ocean that remind me of the strength and awesomeness of God.

Food on the table...and...good friends around it.

The kindness of strangers.

The excitement of the children, and the fun we had during VBS last week.

My God-given

The freedoms I enjoy, in a country secured by the strength and intelligence of men and my cousin's children...who sacrifice for me!

How about YOU?

Been a bad year?

So bad...that YOU haven't been able to see the good, all around YOU?

Why not take a moment...and...count YOUR blessings?

And, then...


Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.~ Melodie Beattie ~

To help Veterans right here on Long Island go to: VETERANSROCK.COM

Friday, August 14, 2009


Isaiah 49:15-16:

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast

and have
no compassion on the child she has born?

she may forget,

I will not forget you!

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009



One day a man saw a old lady, stranded on the side of the road, but even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pinto was still sputtering when he approached her.

Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn't look safe; he looked poor and hungry.

He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that chill which only fear can put in you.

He said, "I'm here to help you, ma'am. Why don't you wait in the car where it's warm? By the way, my name is Bryan Anderson."

Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt.

As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She couldn't thank him enough for coming to her aid.

Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk. The lady asked how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped.

Bryan never thought twice about being paid. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty, who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way.

He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed, and Bryan added, "And think of me.."

He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight.

A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn't erase. The lady noticed the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan...

After the lady finished her meal, she paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress quickly went to get change for her hundred dollar bill, but the old lady had slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. The waitress wondered where the lady could be. Then she noticed something written on the napkin.

There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote: "You don't owe me anything...I have been there too. Somebody once helped me out, the way I'm helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do: Do not let this chain of love end with you."

Under the napkin were four more $100 bills.

Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard.

She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, "Everything's going to be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson." ~
Author Unknown~

There is an old saying..."What goes around comes around." All it is, is another way to say, we reap that which we sow.

What have YOU been reaping lately?

What have YOU sown?

Have YOU been sowing:



Healing Actions...or...Hate-filled Ones?

We all must be very careful of that which we sow...the harvest will be bountiful!

The question is:

Will it be a harvest of goodness...and...grace?


Will it be a harvest of ill-will...and...hardship?

The choice is ours...

What do YOU choose?

Monday, August 10, 2009



Below is a wonderful poem Audrey Hepburn wrote when asked to share her "beauty tips." It was read at her funeral years later:

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.

And, just for fun...a clip from one of my all-time favorite movie musicals. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 6, 2009



At His Transfiguration, Christ showed His disciples the splendor of His beauty, to which He will shape and color those who are His: "He will reform our lowness configured to the body of His glory" (Philippians 3:21) ~St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae~

The homily I heard today was about "mountaintop experiences." The disciples certainly had a "mountaintop experience" on Mount Tabor...when Jesus was transfigured...right in front of their eyes.

Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” ~Mark 9:7~

While we were not present on Mount Tabor, with open hearts...we too, can recognize our own personal "mountaintop experiences"...those times, when God reaches through the firmament to grant us a glimpse of His Transcendent Glory...His Almighty Power.

Creation, in all it's wonder...from the coos of a newborn...the waves on the water...a beautiful sky at sunrise or sunset...a puppy's a new bloom in the garden...reveal to me glimpses of God's Transcendent Glory.

These are MY "mountaintop experiences."

What are YOURS?

Free your heart...your mind...and...your soul, to recognize and savor the glimpses of God's Transcendent Glory all around YOU!

And, may our "mountaintop experiences" strengthen us to know...who it is...we are called to it is...that God ultimately reveals the fullness of His love.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009



I began this blog and joined Twitter as a diversion...during the long hours...days...and...weeks of sitting...watching...waiting...and...praying...when my aunt was in the hospital in March.

It has become a place where I share my struggles with all three.

Not many of us live charmed lives...I know I don't. And, no matter how many letters you can write after your name...nor...what they mean...a life of faith is still a journey, with all the wonders...and...pitfalls, that any journey on earth can...and...usually does entail.

My route thus far has been circuitous at best. And, yes, the journey has been beautiful...and yet at times...exasperating...holy...and yet at times...insane...a great blessing...and yet at times...a great trial.

Some years ago, I was complaining to my confessor about how difficult some thing or another was for me...and, this was his reply: "You follow a God who carried a cross, was nailed to it, and died an undignified death upon it. WHAT Do YOU Expect?!"

Well, in a world of instant, me, and more me...anything goes, etc., etc. we expect rainbows and baby kisses every single day. Yet, there is no rainbow without at least a little rain...nor...a baby to kiss without at least a little pain.

And so too, our faith journey will be strewn with good steps forward...and...giant leaps backward.

The thing is, as in any stay the course...until the destination has been reached...the loving arms of He welcomes us...Home!

Monday, August 3, 2009



I received this beautiful story in my e-mail today.

It came from Dr. Jon at

It is proof of what God can accomplish...through us...when we just open our hearts to let Him

"Our 14-year-old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4-year-old daughter, Meredith, was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to Heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so she dictated these words:

Dear God,

Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in Heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick. I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her, you will know that she is my dog.

I really miss her.



We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to 'God/Heaven'. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to Heaven.

That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed to Meredith in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies.' Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope.

On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,

Abbey arrived safely in Heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away. Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart.

Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in Heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and send it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you.

I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much.

By the way, I'm easy to find, I am wherever there is love.



Who needs YOU to share God's love with them today?

For help in caring for your pet visit: PETPLACE.COM!

Sunday, August 2, 2009


The goal of our life is to be with God forever.
God, who loves us, gave us life.
Our own response of love allows God's life to flow into us without limit.

All the things in this world are gifts from God, presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily.

As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God insofar as they help us develop as loving persons. But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives, they displace God and so hinder our growth toward our goal.

In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance before all these created gifts insofar as we have a choice and are not bound by some obligation.

We should not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in God.

Our only desire and our one choice should be this:

I want and I choose what better leads to God's deepening His life in me.

~Saint Ignatius, as paraphrased by David L. Fleming, S.J. ~