Thursday, April 30, 2009

100 Days of Change

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Morning My Precious Julie Was Born



Julie was born at 3:41 AM on Saturday morning April 18, 2009. We had scheduled a C-Section to be done that same morning at 9:30 AM, but Julie didn't want to wait for that appointment. Julie's mother and I were up all night Friday because we were so anxious, excited and a little nervous about what has become one of the greatest days of our lives. I decided to go downstairs and watch some television. I had recorded Theology of the Body for Teens - I'm currently reading Theology of the Body so the program was of great interest to me - and I highly, highly recommend watching that series that can be found on EWTN. I decided to give sleep one more try around 12:30. Shelly was still awake. There was no way we were getting any sleep. It was going to be a long, long night. Then at 12:45 the unexpected happened; Shelly's water broke. We went into minor hysteria. The doctor didn't think her water would break, because she was not dialated at all on her last visit and Julie was sitting breech. Well, it happened and thankfully we had already packed up everything earlier that night. Shelly was asking me what to do and my mind was racing trying to think of what I had been told and what I had read. I said, I'll get you a towel and you can go ahead and call the doctor. Shelly called her mom first, then her doctor. The doctor was very calm and reassuring, but that didn't completely ease our anxiety. I was running around the house like I was back in little league baseball rounding the bases. My mind was racing faster. I grabbed all our bags and threw them in the car. I grabbed a couple extra towels, my medicine because I'd been having nose issues, our camera and all the essentials. With that we were off to the hospital. The ride seemed like it was an eternity. I gave my mom a call and let her know we were headed to the hospital and I prayed the rosary twice and tried to calm Shelly down in the process.

When we finally got to the hospital, we parked in the labor/delivery drive through. The woman at the desk seemed extremely calm to me; we were having a baby! I guess it was just another late night for her. We got the necessary papers signed and we were off to one of their rooms where Shelly was going to be checked. It turned out that she was 2 inches dilated and our doctor decided we should proceed with the c-section rather than wait. It was go time. Shelly was hooked up to IV, received a catheter, and finally an epidural. Each one of these procedures was uncomfortable for Shelly. All I could do was sit there, hold her hand, and tell her everything would be alright. Shelly was asking the nurses a million questions which is something that runs in the family. The nurses were very nice and continued to reassure her and calm her down. I put on the operating clothes, boots, mask and all and we headed to the operating room.


I had to sit outside the room for five minutes while the doctors - there were several of them - got Shelly ready for operation. The next ten minutes were the tensest minutes of my life. I had several emotions going through my head. Up until that point I felt like I was fairly calm and level headed, but sitting outside that room really hit me hard. I started to breathe quickly and heavily. I was having a minor panic attack I think. I just love Shelly and our baby Julie so much and I was concerned. I was also excited so it was a weird feeling. When the doctor came to me and told me it was time, I started to the room. I was so baffled that I had put my mask on incorrectly; the doctor had to help me put it on right. Then I looked through the window and saw Shelly's incision. They had already cut her open, and I saw it. That only increased my anxiety. As I walked past, I made sure not to look back at the incision, and I was seated next to Shelly's head. She was awake and appeared to be doing pretty well. She could see that I was very nervous and she kept telling me she was alright and that it didn't hurt. I shook my head in understanding but it didn't easy my anxiety. I started breathing fast and hard and my eyes started to water. This moment is something I knew I'd never forget. When one of the doctor's said, "It's not long now," the anticipation was unreal. I started to cry, Shelly started to cry and then one of the doctor's said, "here she comes." I said I wouldn't look, but I had to see, so I stood up and I saw our baby Julie. I saw her! She was covered in white fluid. I was crying and smiling. Shelly kept asking me, can you see her? Yes. Shelly desperately wanted to see her, but the doctors had to clean Julie off first. I had my camera with me and took close to 100 pictures. I didn't want to miss anything and I wanted Shelly to be able to see what I saw. Once she was cleaned I was able to hold Julie and bring her to mom. Shelly finally got to see baby Julie and the family was together for the first time. Shelly's first words at the sight of Julie was, "She's so perfect," and she couldn't have been more right. Julie was a very beautiful and healthy baby.



I followed Julie to the operating delivery room, where she was weighed, bathed and checked out. Shelly was getting stitched up. Eventually Shelly came and joined us. She looked pretty good considering she just had a serious surgery, but her heart rate was racing very high so the doctors and nurses were monitoring her closely. I could now tell the parents-in-law the good news and show them the pictures I took. They had been at the hospital the whole time we were there. It must have been hard for them to just sit in the waiting room for hours, but they wanted to be there and I know Shelly was glad to have them there. After I told them the situation, I headed back to the operating room. The nurses took Julie up to the nursery where they had to do some further tests. I was to stay with mom for 15 minutes, before heading to our room. My parents-in-law and myself went up to the 4th floor after 15 minutes and went to visit the nursery. We called to get the attention of the nurses in the nursery and had them bring Julie close to the window. They finally got to see their first granddaughter in person. Then we went to the room and waited for Shelly. Shelly arrived shortly and so did baby. I don't know what time it was when we were all in the room together, but I think it was around 5 or 6 am. I had gotten no sleep. It was the first time in my life that I went an entire day and night without sleep. I was running on adrenaline and Shelly was even more exhausted than me, but Julie was finally here. Our lives will never be the same. It didn't take me long to realize that. In my next post, I'll post my thoughts on the first week of Julie's life.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hope For Life Day - April 18th

How awesome is it that Julie is planned to arrive tomorrow on what governor Sunny Perdue has declared Hope For Life day in GA? AWESOME! Julie, we can't wait to see you! I know you will bring us so much hope, joy, and love. Below is the article from life news. Tomorrow is the big day! God bless!
---
Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue Declares Saturday as Pro-Life Day, Notes Women Who Regret Abortions

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 17, 2009

Atlanta, GA (LifeNews.com) -- Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue has issued a proclamation making Saturday a statewide pro-life day and also acknowledging the fact that thousands of Georgia women regret their abortions. A leading group for women who have been victimized by abortion applauded the recognition saying more needs to be done to see how abortion hurts women.

"Therefore, I, Sonny Perdue, Governor of the state of Georgia, do hereby proclaim April 18, 2009, as Hope for Life Day in Georgia," Perdue's proclamation reads.

"I call upon all Georgians to recognize this day, to rededicate ourselves to compassionate service on behalf of the weak and defenseless, and reaffirm our commitment to respect the life and dignity of every human being," Perdue adds.

Julie Thomas, who heads the Georgia outreach for Operation Outcry, an organization of women and men hurt by abortion, applauded the move.

"Finally we are celebrating the gift of life and I applaud Governor Perdue for proclaiming April 18th as Hope for Life Day," she told LifeNews.com.

Thomas noted the special Georgia pro-life day comes on the same day in 2007 when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Congressional ban on partial-birth abortions and said abortion causes "severe depression" and "loss of esteem" for some women.

The Court also said that abortion was a "difficult and painful moral decision, fraught with emotional consequences" and that "some women come to regret aborting the infant life they once created and sustained."

The high court cited a brief filed by The Justice Foundation on behalf of Atlanta resident, Sandra Cano, the original Mary Doe of Doe v. Bolton, the case to Roe v. Wade, which established a so-called right to abortion throughout pregnancy for any reason.

The Justice Foundation also represented 180 of Operation Outcry women who have been hurt by abortion, and whose testimony was referred to by the Supreme Court.

To celebrate the United States Supreme Court's recognition that abortion hurts women and the special pro-life day Perdue proclaimed, the Justice Foundation, Operation Outcry, Georgia Right to Life, and other women and men hurt by abortion will be marching in celebration of Hope for Life Day.

They will be joined by pro-life supporters friends and family and will be marching down Martin Luther King Drive to the Federal Courthouse where Doe v. Bolton originated this Saturday morning. Sandra Cano, Norma McCorvey, and others will speak to the crowd.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Are You a Right-Wing Extremist?


Apparently if you are pro-life, that makes you a right-wing extremist according to the recent homeland security document. Below is a portion of that document.

* (U) Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

---

It is important that we realize what is happening here. How long before praying the rosary in front of an abortion mill is considered a terrorist act? I know it sounds crazy, but it might not be unrealistic in the near future. Right-wing extremist is a negative labeling. They say that right-wing extremists are hate oriented, but those who oppose abortion are showing the exact opposite of hate: LOVE.

Abortion is not a political issue. Those, including many Catholics, who try to say abortion is not a moral issue are gravely misinformed and poorly catechized. I hope the truth of the Catholic faith touches their hearts and they come to realize the gravity of the issue of abortion and how it effects all issues and all people. The Notre Dame Scandal has been just one more obvious instance showing that the Catholic faith is split between those who understand and defend their faith and those how are apathetic about their faith or are terribly poorly catechized. One of the greatest challenges the Church faces today is teaching their own members the faith. I'm confident in the leaders of the Church and hopefully the members of the Church who are lost will be open to listening and learning the Catholic faith. God wants to save all people. He wants all people to come to know the truth. Are you open to listening and living the truth?

Think about who exactly is being targeted here. Is this not a direct attack on the Catholic Church? Now we are seeing people with good Christian values being labeled radical, hateful and discriminatory. Our views very well may be radical to some, but they are not at all hateful. We must realize that this is a tactic to try and change our views. We don’t want to be called right-wing extremists, but is that going to sway our beliefs and thoughts? For the weak maybe, but we of strong Christian faith are not weak but strong. Our faith is in Jesus Christ. We hold fast to the timeless truths of Jesus Christ and we are not swayed by the false pretenses of the time.

Many call us Christians, Catholics in particular, as unenlightened because we believe life is sacred and that marriage is between one man and one woman. If these beliefs, which are timeless truths, are considered by society as being unenlightened thought, than count me in the unenlightened group. If these beliefs, which are timeless truths, are considered by society as right-wing extremist views than consider me a right-wing extremist. If these beliefs, which are timeless truths, are considered bigotry or ignorance and if prayer becomes a crime, then I am willing to go to jail before I am forced to renounce my beliefs. I do not live for this world but for the next. My superior is not an earthly leader or politician, and my beliefs are not based on a democratic vote. My superior and my Lord is Jesus Christ, and my beliefs are based on His teachings and the teachings of the Catholic Church which he founded. Will you back down when someone calls you a name or will you be more determined than ever to defend your faith? If believing in the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church label me as a right-wing extremist, I’ll wear that Scarlet Letter proudly. I will NEVER compromise my faith for anything of this world. I’ll die before I have to renounce my faith and belief in God. I do not compromise ANY of my beliefs. There is but one Truth. I will NEVER let society sway me into believing otherwise. So I ask you again, are you a right-wing extremist?


Just 3 more days until the scheduled C-Section. Julie is almost here! The doctor says she’s a big baby, already over 8 lbs. Please continue to keep us in your prayers. I’ll likely be sending an email out soon after Julie arrives, so if you want to be on that email list, let me know. Thanks and God bless you all! Remember that the victory has already been won, Jesus is alive. No matter what happens here on earth, there will always be that Easter day right around the corner. May all our goals and works lead us to Heaven, and may we always be thankful to God and praise Him. Everything we have and everything we are is a gift from God. We thank you God and we Praise you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. Amen.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Good News from the Mouth of Al Gore?


Al Gore is famously known as a former vice presidential candidate who has an obsession with the idea of global warming. Gore has historically been an abortion “rights” and embryonic stem cell research supporter, so when I read that he was spending $20 Million on funding for alternatives to embryonic stem cell research, I was stunned. It’s true. You can read about it here. It appears that more and more people are starting to realize that embryonic stem cell research is not only controversial and morally unacceptable, but it is not the future answer to medical treatments. I don’t know if this stem cell venture will be successful or not, but the very fact that even Al Gore is now open to finding alternatives to embryonic stem cell research gives me hope that this issue will soon be dead. Praise God!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Rome Sweet Home


I have two copies of the book Rome Sweet Home. Rome Sweet Home is the story of Kimberly and Scott Haun's conversion to Catholicism. Shelly received a signed copy from my brother for Easter - very nice! Shelly and I have both read this book and I'll certainly read it again. I want to give our extra copy to one of my non-catholic readers. This book is never preachy and is simply an amazing story that anyone can and should enjoy. Please let me know if you'd like a copy of Rome Sweet Home. If none of my non-catholic readers respond, I'll give it away to one of my Catholic readers but I'd like to give my non-catholic readers a chance to accept my gift first. By accepting my gift, you will be giving a gift to me because I want to share this book. Allow me to give you this gift. All I ask is that you open the book. If at any time you are offended or become disinterested, close the book, throw it away, or burn it - I don't care. I know it won't come to that, but if you aren't satisfied with the book I will not be offended. I'll only be saddened if I can't find someone who wants to receive this free gift. You will not be disappointed. Thanks and God bless!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Holy Thursday


Today is Holy Thursday. We remember the Last Supper, where Jesus washed the feet of the apostles and instituted the Eucharist and priesthood. It was at the Last Supper when Jesus first shared His Body and Blood with the apostles. We receive His Body and Blood each time we take part in the Eucharist. It is not just a symbol, but we believe that what appears to be bread and wine is truly the Body and Blood of Jesus. Jesus said this IS my body and this IS my blood... do this in memory of me. We remember the Last Supper at every mass service, but especially today on Holy Thursday. We remember how Jesus washed the feet of the apostles, an act that only slaves would do. He laid down His life and humbled himself completely so that we might be saved. We must never forget Holy Thursday. Jesus is trying to explain and show us so much; we must be open and willing to accept His teachings. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are we who are called to his table.
-----
Today is the last day that we can make our voice heard about the Provider Conscience Clause. If you have not done so already, PLEASE contact the Health Department. I have a link on my sidebar for Freedom2Care.org. They have a prewritten letter that you can attach your name to and they will send it for you. It is super easy, fast and the letter is very well written. I have used that website to send my message (my second message to the Health Department about this issue) and I have also had Shelly (and Julie) sign the letter. PLEASE do the same TODAY. Today is the final day to have your voice heard on this issue. Your voice could be the difference. I also sent the following note to President Obama on the whitehouse website. Pray that his heart and the heart of all those who support abortion and other grave evils may be converted. Thank you for your civil participation and may God Bless you on this Holy Thursday and evey day!
---

Please keep Provider Conscience Clause in place.

As a patient, I cherish the freedom to choose a healthcare professional who adheres to life-affirming standards of care. I want my healthcare professional to remain free to care for me according to time-tested patient-protecting standards such as the Hippocratic Oath, moral and religious principles, the Nuremberg Code and other longstanding standards of medical ethics. I oppose mandating participation in abortion and any unlawful discrimination and intolerant coercion that threaten women's access to healthcare by forcing life-affirming healthcare professionals, hospitals and clinics to choose between violating ethical commitments or leaving the practice of medicine. I support laws, regulations and policies that protect and preserve the freedom of healthcare professionals to care for patients without being forced to participate in abortion and other ethically controversial practices. I believe that rescinding the Provider Conscience Clause will negatively impact my access to the healthcare professionals of my choosing. I ask you to please do the right thing and keep the Provider Conscience Clause in place. Thank you for taking the time to read my comment and may God bless you and your family.

A concerned citizen of this great nation,

Michael




Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Tradition Unlike Any Other


The Masters Championship is one of the four major golf tournaments each year. The 2009 Masters Tournament begins tomorrow and the final round will take place on Easter Sunday. This is the 16th time that the Masters will coincide with Holy Week and Easter Sunday. Now I might be one of the biggest sports fans you'd ever meet, and I enjoy my golf, but I find it disappointing that the Masters is played at this time. Of course, Easter Sunday falls on a different day each year and the Masters has traditionally taken place the first weekend after April, but that is one tradition I'd like to see changed.

If I remember correctly, one of the ten commandments is to keep holy the sabbath day. In our busy world it seems we not only fail to keep holy the sabbath day, but we don't keep holy ANY day of the year. Easter is the most important day of the year for all Christians. It is the day Jesus rose from the dead! It is a day of celebration, joy, peace, and rest. It is a day that all Christian people should look forward to and should keep holy. It should be a time of celebration and a time to be with family. While I can enjoy watching sports with my family and still celebrate mass on Sundays, I wonder how those out on the golf course manage to celebrate Easter? I hope that golfers who want to celebrate Easter have the ability and flexibility to do so, but I honestly don't know how the tournament organizers handle such requests.

I know this will never happen, especially at Augusta where tradition and long standing rules are strictly followed, but I would like to see the final round of the Masters postponed until Monday when it falls on Easter weekend. It seems to me like this is something that could be done and should be done. We should always take at least one day out of the week to celebrate mass, to rest, and to keep the day holy as God commanded us so long ago. This should not mean that we can have no fun. On the contrary, we should take much delight on Sundays and have fun with family and friends. We should even go outside and play some sports, but we should not work unless we absolutely have to in order to support our family. Nobody should have to work on Easter and that should include golfers.

What do you think? Should the final round of the Masters be played on Easter Sunday? Do you agree with me or do you think it is perfectly fine to have the Masters on Easter? I'd like to hear your opinions, so if you have a thought about this feel free to leave a comment. Just remember to be polite and respectful. Thanks and God bless!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Holy Week

Yesterday was Palm Sunday. That means this is Holy Week. During holy week we focus our thoughts on the passion of Jesus. We should be doing this throughout all of Lent, but we especially focus on the passion during this week. Your parish should have several events, masses, confession times this week, and I encourage you to participate in as many as you can. This is a very special time of year. Easter nears. Are you prepared?

As a heads up, I may not be posting as often in the next couple months. I expect free time to be limited as Shelly and I prepare for Easter and our first child. I know you all will understand and I promise I'll try to post as often as I can. Thanks for your understanding and please continue to visit my blog. Thanks and God bless!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Oprah Stunned To Learn Stem Cell Issue Is Dead


I have to admit, I don't watch The Oprah Show. I don't understand why so many people tune into that show, but she has a huge following. She was also a huge Obama supporter during the election and has been a strong supporter of embryonic stem cell research. In one of her shows recently, she had Michael J. Fox and Doctor OZ on her program to talk about stem cell research. Michael J. Fox has Parkinson disease and is a big supporter of embryonic stem cell research, because he's hopeful that it would lead to a cure for Parkinson disease. Both he and Oprah were in for a big surprise when Dr. Oz spoke about embryonic stem cell research. I was pleasantly surprised (because you rarely hear the truth about embryonic stem cell research discussed on secular tv, especially on Oprah) to hear Dr. Oz state that it is the adult stem cells that have made all of the advances we are seeing and that the embryonic stem cells have done nothing but cause cancer. I really hope Oprah, Michael J. Fox, and the 7.2 million Oprah viewers heard and understood what he was saying. Embryonic stem cell research is not only unethical and morally wrong, it is ineffective and even counterproductive.

Dr. Oz talks about embryonic stem cell research around 2 minutes. If you can skip to that part, notice Oprah's reaction. It is priceless.

http://www.oprah.com/media/20090319-tows-dr-oz-brain