Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Precious Lord the song and the story

from my email


Back in 1932, I was a fairly new husband. My wife, Nettie and I were living in a little apartment on Chicago 's south side. One hot August afternoon I had to go to St. Louis where I was to be the featured soloist at a large revival meeting. I didn't want to go. Nettie was in the last month of pregnancy with our first child. But a lot of people were expecting me in St. Louis . I kissed

Nettie good-bye, clattered downstairs to our Model A and, in a fresh Lake
Michigan breeze, chugged out of Chicago on Route 66.

However, outside the city, I discovered that in my anxiety at leaving, I had forgotten my music case. I wheeled around and headed back.

I found Nettie sleeping peacefully. I hesitated by her bed; something was strongly telling me to stay. But eager to get on my way, and not wanting to disturb Nettie, I shrugged off the feeling and quietly slipped out of the room with my music.

The next night, in the steaming St. Louis heat, the crowd called on me to sing again and again. When I finally sat down, a messenger boy ran up with a Western Union telegram. I ripped open the envelope. Pasted on the yellow sheet were the words: YOUR WIFE JUST DIED.

People were happily singing and clapping around me, but I could hardly keep from crying out. I rushed to a phone and called home. All I could hear on the other end was 'Nettie is dead. Nettie is dead.'

When I got back, I learned that Nettie had given birth to a boy. I swung between grief and joy. Yet that same night, the baby died. I buried Nettie and our little boy together, in the same casket. Then I fell apart.

For days I closeted myself. I felt that God had done me an injustice. I didn't want to serve Him anymore or write gospel songs. I just wanted to go back to that jazz world I once knew so well. But then, as I hunched alone in that dark apartment those first sad days, I thought back to the afternoon I went to St. Louis . Something kept telling me to stay with Nettie. Was that something God? Oh, if I had paid more attention to Him that day, I would have stayed and been with Nettie when she died.

From that moment on I vowed to listen more closely to Him. But still I was lost in grief. Everyone was kind to me, especially one friend. The following Saturday evening he took me up to Maloney's Poro College , a neighborhood music school. It was quiet; the late evening sun crept through the curtained windows.

I sat down at the piano, and my hands began to browse over the keys. Something happened to me then. I felt at peace. I felt as though I could reach out and touch God. I found myself playing a melody, once into my head the words just seemed to fall into place: 'Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand, I am tired, I am weak, I am worn, through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light, take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.'

The Lord gave me these words and melody, He also healed my spirit. I learned that when we are in our deepest grief, when we feel farthest from God, this is when He is closest, and when we are most open to His restoring power.

And so I go on living for God willingly and joyfully, until that day comes when He will take me and gently lead me home..

-Tommy Dorsey-

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Word Made Flesh

It was a weekend full of inspiration for writers at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, NY where the first annual LI Catholic Writer's Conference was held.
 I met old friends Lisa Mladinich, founder of LI Catholic Writers,  Alice Gunther, MacBeth Derham, Mary Ellen Barrett, Catherine Cammarata,Michele Merrinan Berg,  and Dawn Eskew. I was able to renew my friendship with award winning children's author Josephine Nobisso of Gingerbread House Books (read my review of Take it to the Queen), and Among Women podcaster and Faith and Family contributor Pat Gohn, whose presentation encouraging writers to use social networking lit a fire under the audience, many of whom have connected with me since then. Pat has had me on her Among Women podcast twice and has been a mentor and cheerleader for me in my writing career. She garnered quite a few more mentorees with her dynamic presentation.
I was honored to finally meet  Elizabeth Scalia, that insightful columnist  known widely as The Anchoress over at First Things, and Celeste Behe of Faith and Family. I had the pleasure of listening to Michael Behe describe his book "Darwin's Black Box" at a CHAPLET Conference,  now I know where his inspiration comes from! Nice to meet such seasoned professionals in person.
New to the blogging scene, but certainly a rising star is Dr Gerard Nadal, PhD whose blog Coming Home has made him both friends and enemies by his courageous defense of human life. I had the honor of introducing him to Theresa Bonapartis, the directer of Lumina post abortion ministries affiliated with the Sisters of Life.
Catholic Writer's Guild president Ann Lewis made it all the way from Ohio, and we had time for a chat about the Catholic Arts and Letters Award, on whose committee I serve. She gave the CALA award to Long Island Catholic editor Rick Hinshaw, the keynote speaker. Monsignor Fink gave an oustanding homily a the Mass with extensive references to Tolkien's Ring Trilogy, reminding us that our writing contributes to the music of God's creation, and will be heard in heaven.
Many thanks to Peggy Clores, Alice Gunther and Lisa Mladinich whose tireless dedication made this conference possible, take a bow ladies!
Here is the Diocese of Brooklyn's net TV coverage of the conference in it's Currents program.
Read Pat Gohn's post at Among Women.

Among all these celebrated writers, I must mention Gabriela, my lovely seventeen year old whose essay My Sister is Special which won first place in the Diocesan Respect Life Essay Contest has been reprinted more times than I can count. First the Spanish diocesan paper Fe Feurza Y Vida translated it, then editor Marta Moscosa suggested a youth column be started in the Long Island Catholic. As soon as he took over as editor, Rick Hinshaw was on the case, asking Gabbi permission to reprint her essay as the first piece in Youth Voice. Rick remembered that, and he greeted Gabbi when she came to the conference. TLIC reported Lena Pennino who reported on Gabbi's winning the Respect Life over five years ago, asked Gabbi if she remembered her. An impact far beyond her years, I am so proud of my celebrated young writer.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Lutz family to get Extreme Home Makeover

I am always impressed by the generousity of parents who adopt children with disabilities. The Lutz family of Long Island adopted 18 children altogether, six of whom have T21. Now the parents are gone, and two of the simblings are caring for those with Down syndrome. Their family home is crumbling and Ty Pennington and his crew are coming to the rescue with Extreme Makeover; Home Edition.
The kickoff happened this week at Yankee Stadium, with lots of hugs and fanfare.
Read the entire article in the Daily News.

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

To my husband, the father of my three girls, to my Godfather Al, to my dad Ralph, and my pastor, Fr Joseph Tito, Happy Father's Day.

We love you and appreciate all you do for us!
God bless you, and give you a wonderful day.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

View The Voyage of the Dawn Treader trailer

In a nod to the power of Christian filmgoers, the producers of the next film in CS Lewis "The Chronicles of Narnia" series, "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" have pre-released the film's trailer to Christian media outlets.

We will be reporting to them the number of hits we achieve within the next 24 hours. Do your part and click here to view the trailer on my site Catholic Media Review and pass the link on to your friends.

Show Hollywood that the Christian audience which made "The Passion of the Christ" an international phenomenon has not diminished. Make your voice heard.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Modesty at Mass

This is one of the most discussed topic in our house of teens. We have a modesty check of the skirt wearing young ladies BEFORE they enter the van to go to Mass. We don't do veils all the time,unless we are going to Latin Mass,  but we dress up in skirts and modest tops, nice shoes, shirts and dress slacks for men.
We change as soon as we get home so the clothing will last longer.
Here is a fasinating article from Msgr Pope of the Archdisocese of Washington on modesty in church.
HT Spirit Daily.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta :

The feast of the Immaculate heart of Mary, cause of our joy, is drawing near. Our preparation for the great day should be that of deep, humble gratitude to God. Let us ask two special graces from Our Lady:

The grace of perseverance in our beautiful vocation, and delicate love for God’s poor. The greatness of Our Lady was in her humility. No wonder Jesus wanted to live so close to her. We learn from him and from her one lesson: To be meek and humble of heart.

Thirsting For God, 120.
Source: Mary Vitamin
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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Nutrient offers great promise for people with Down syndrome

My husband will back me up on this, Christina's new favorite breakfast is "eggs". She asks for them constantly. It didn't strike me as unsual or prophetic, till now, when it sends a chill down my spine.
A nutrient taken by expectant and new mothers may offer lifelong "dramatic" health benefits to people with Down's syndrome, according to new research.

The study, which was carried out at Cornell University, claims that the nutrient choline, found in egg yolks, liver and cauliflower, could provide lasting cognitive and emotional benefits to people with Down's syndrome.
DId I mention we have just added a chicken coop to our yard?
Thanks to our three hens, we get fresh brown eggs every day. How generous is God's provision for us!
Read the entire article here.

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Walk-a-thon for Ave Maria Home

Last Sunday, the famliy of Kristin over at 11 On My Own joined us for a walk-a-thon for Birthright and Ave Maria Home. Kristin blogged about it here. She has photos, check it out.
We enjoyed a long walk in the summer air, with the rainstorm holding off thanks to our chaplain's prayers.  Then the Bothur girls sang folksongs while we rested and enjoyed lunch together.
I am accepting pledges late for this, I walked five miles. All funds will help the Ave Maria Home for homeless pregnant women.
Leave contact info below in the comments or email me at marysjoys@yahoo.com

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

New England Catholic Homeschool Conference

Kristin Bothur my author friend over at 11 on my own has a post on our wonderful day at the conference meeting our favorite authors, Danielle Bean and Susie Lloyd. 
What Kristin is too modest to mention is that great numbers of conference partipants recognized her from her blog and she sold a lot of books.
I was certainly in good company, between great Catholic authors Danielle Bean, Susie Lloyd and Kristin Bothur. I hope to joing their ranks shortly when "A Special Mother is Born" is published this fall.
We were flanked by our dear friends the Friars of the Immaculate from Griswold, CT, and the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary from Still River, MA. We enjoyed many edifying conversations on the faith and Catholic education, not to mention a delicious Polish lunch.
I was able to visit with my friend Patrice Fagnant McArthur of Spiritual Woman, and meet Margot Davidson of Hillside Publishing, which publishes Mater et Magister magazine. I love her book Lingua Mater, the seventh grade Literarture based writing curriculum. With this book I taught a class of homeschooling girls how to hone their writing skills, and four of them entered and won essay and poetry prizes in the Diocesan Respect Life Essay contest. The next year, the Diocese of Rockville Centre added the category "Homeschooled" to the list of participants. Thank you Hillside Education!
I enjoyed Susie Lloyd's talk on St Francis de Sales, one of my favorite spiritual writers, and Allison Gingras' on home educating children with special needs.
It was a  blessed day of sharing what we love about passing on our faith to our children.
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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The results of my eye exam were good; for now

Here is what Dr Vavvas of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary told me.

I have a 1.7mm high choroidal nevur behind my right eyeball. He called it a 'suspicious lesion'. It's smaller than the 2 mm which they use as the cutoff point for concern, and I have no additional symptoms like detached retina, flashing lights, floaters, pain, etc. So it may be nothing, however, we are being cautious and monitoring it.

Since they don't have any photos to compare the growth or non-growth of the lesion, they will examine me in six months in December to see if there are any changes. This could develop into a uveal melanoma and require the insertion of a button with radiation to kill the cancer. This could damage my better-than-perfect eyesight in my eye. I have had excellent eyesight up to now, thanks be to God.

The doctor I saw was covering for Dr Gragoudas, who 'wrote the book' on treating this type of condition without removing tissue from the eyeball. I am trying to modify my diet and pray during these six months that God has given me to be able to save myself from surgery which may damage my vision.

Thank you all for your prayers. They keep me going.

Leticia Bookmark and Share