Sunday, June 29, 2014

Congratulations to Our TORCH Seniors!

Last night we were so Blest to attend the TORCH graduation Mass and ceremony for seven wonderful Seniors.
These kids are so special to all of us.
We have known most of them for much of their lives and they are like family.

It was a beautiful evening.

Will, Andrew, and Jerry

Andrew, Hannah, and Olivia

Savannah and Hannah

Jerry and Andrew

The Boyz

Julia, Hannah and Erin

Hannah and Andrew

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Health Insurance, It's Not For Everybody

This is a letter from my friend Kim, to the Washington Post, copied to Bill O'Rielly.
 Kim is one of the finest people I know. She has no desire to be a victim. She is not ignorant, or lazy. She is a Registered Nurse, a homeschooling mom, and her husband is an accountant. She has never had a reason to believe that seeking medical care should be in question, because she and her husband have worked hard to ensure that there would be affordable medical coverage for the family. Now she finds that this isn't possible. She is frustrated, and afraid of the next illness or accident. 
So, you say it won't happen to you? She is you. She is me. We are living in a place that we never expected. 

Dear Mr. O'Reilly , 
I sent this letter to the Washington Post and I wanted to share it with you:
I'm not sure if this is the best place to post my health insurance journey but, as I sat reading articles by Dr. Carson, I felt inspired. We are a family of 11, yes 11. My husband and I are greatly blessed with nine children. Over the course of our almost 21 year marriage we have always had health insurance, until now. Now, with all these wonderful new healthcare laws, we are without health insurance. We had bought private insurance for about 10 years. My husband works for a small local business and about 8 years ago they were able to get a group plan. In the past few years our rates have skyrocketed, along with the rest of taxpaying America. 
We were informed about two weeks ago that it was time to renew our policy, and of course there would be an increase in our premium. This increase now exceeds our monthly mortgage payment. It is impossible for us to pay this premium without sacrificing food or shelter for our children. So we were told that we could purchase our own coverage through a very reputable company. When I tried to apply I was told to go to the healthcare marketplace because my family was entitled to a substantial subsidy. This really does not sit right with me as I don't feel entitled to anything except my rights as a law abiding, taxpaying citizen. I then spend a total of 10 hours on the phone over the course of the next week and a half trying to apply for health insurance. I am told that because we no longer participate in the group plan we can get a new one, but the website  does not accommodate my family size so I must give the information over the phone. This process takes an hour because I am constantly asked, with each of my children, their race, citizenship and if they are employed. Only one of my children is old enough to be employed but I am asked these questions over and over. Then I am told that this must be done manually, as they cannot calculate for my family size. I am assuming math is not a qualification for this job. I then proceed to call back daily checking on the status of my application, the same application that should take less then 24 hours to process. Four days later I am told that my application was denied. Of course I ask why. 
The answer is "I don't know we are not given that information." 
So I ask who can give me that information? 
I am told "I don't know ma'am it is just denied. I hope you have a wonderful day" 
So I try again the next day. I have nine children so I can be patient. 
Two days before my deadline to sign up, so that I can have coverage when my old coverage expires, I am told to do a new application. This one takes 2 and 1/2 hours to complete. This person typed much slower. I finish this process on Friday, June 13th and I am told that I have until June 18th to apply. 
"Do not worry ma'am that is plenty of time. Call on Wednesday morning". 
So I do, and the answer is "Your application has not been processed and you have missed the sign up period and you must reapply in November for open enrollment." 
I asked, very panicked, "What about all these things I have been told?"
 I go on to quote dates, and names, and times (nine kids makes you patient, and thorough) but I am interrupted abruptly, and told that the cut off was a rolling date and they chose for it to be the 16th not the 18th "sorry and have a wonderful day." 
So here I am with the choice, I can pay for insurance I can't afford, but I cannot purchase my own until January 1, 2015. Or my family can go without. 
I can't help but cry. I watch my husband who, during his busy season, works 14-16 hours a day. During the slow season it's 10. We pay our taxes, raise our children to be good citizens, and tell them that hard work always pays off. I am not upset that I can't get a subsidy, I'm upset that because we are not immigrants, or criminals, we can't purchase our own health insurance, and that this is perpetuated by a law that the majority of Americans didn't want. 
Immigrants founded this country. They came willing to work, not holding out their hand. I'm upset because our nation, that was founded on the backs of those willing to work and give their lives for the greater good, is being run by a tyrant and his band of merry idiots who think they can manipulate the Constitution. 
I'm upset because I can't buy health insurance for my children, and I have no options and no freedom to choose, so to speak. I can chose to kill my unborn child, but I can't get him health insurance. 
I'm upset because I am Catholic and I believe life is precious from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death, and I am being forced to pay for murder, but I can't buy health insurance for my children. 
I'm upset because the people who have been receiving entitlements, and sucking off the system continue to vote these people into office and are stealing the integrity of a great nation. 
I'm upset because both of my grandfathers fought in WWII. One was a POW in Germany. They fought to stop people like this and it seems to be in vain. 
I hope and I pray that we can turn this around, so that our children can be proud Americans and be given the opportunity to work hard and serve their God, and their Country, with pride and dignity, instead of waiting for the next handout. 
We are One Nation Under God, and I hope He will have mercy on us.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Saying Goodbye

It seems like there have been an awful lot of people in our lives saying "Goodbye", one way or another, to loved ones, places, and ways that they have lived.
Things do change and the only thing that is certain in life is that it is very uncertain.

A couple of weeks ago our next door neighbor, a very elderly gentleman who has lived in that house since it was built, fell in the hallway and couldn't get up. His son called, from San Francisco, to see if his truck was there and if we had seen him. I told him no, and then we really started to worry.
We finally had to call the police, who broke in and found him and called the EMS people. It was one of those things that happen to older people who live alone, and it could have ended much worse than it did, but it is still not good. It's unlikely that he is going to be coming back to live in that house. He has just always been there. It's the end of something certain.

A few of the families we know have lost parents, and other family members, recently, and yesterday I heard that my good friend, Tonya, said "Goodbye" to her dad, after a long illness. It was kind of shocking. I thought he would be here longer.

When these things happen we naturally think about where the ones that we love are now. We can't picture it, and we can't begin to know what they are experiencing, but we know that they are...still.
We know that every soul that comes into being is eternal and that after death they go on in an existence that isn't what we know, but is.
When my Mom passed from this earth, I just couldn't feel that she had died. She is gone from here, and she isn't able to call me and chat, or hear about how the kids are doing, or come over for a visit, but she is every bit as alive as when she walked the earth. She is in another place, and she can pray for us, and she can be with the babies that we lost in a way that we don't get to, until we get there.
I just can't see that as a bad thing. The last few years of her life were filled with physical pain, and while she was still enjoying life, we all knew that it was coming to it's earthly end. The thing is, that is really why we are made. We are an eternal people. We believe in a life in eternity that NEVER ends, ever.

Now not everyone chooses to be in the same eternal place. That is up to the choices that we make while we are here. If you choose a life of self-centered worldliness, then God isn't going to force you to spend an eternity with Him and others, you will have the eternity that you have chosen by closing the door on Love. That's free will.

Nina is moving to Texas, away from Maryland, where she has lived, worked and raised Lilly for most of her life. They are very excited about making a fresh start, and I am excited for them, but it means a huge change for us, and a "Goodbye" even as we know that it is a good thing. I am praying that she finds everything that she needs to move into the life that she has been working so hard for. A good job, a better economy, good schools for herself and Lilly, and a love to walk through life with. I am looking forward to our visits and being able to hear that they are stretching their wings.

So many Goodbyes, some harder than others, and so many adjustments.
Life is just one long adjustment.
Thank You Lord for the Grace to be flexible, and the Hope that we have in You!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Happy Birthday John!!!

Today our oldest son turns 16!!
What a great kid he is!
I am so proud of who he is and all that he stands for.
God Bless you in the coming year, and always, John.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Summing up the Day

Monday started with a trip to the service dept. at the dealership for a 10,000 mile check-up and oil change...still waiting to see how that ends up, since when I got home the van was leaking oil. They are coming here to look at it in the morning. Ugh.

Then I came home, and the storms that we thought were coming didn't materialize, so we headed up to the pool and had a very nice afternoon. We were almost the only ones there!

I went to the grocery store and bought stuff for Sour Cream Noodle Bake and put it together, and then Nina and Lilly joined us for dinner.

The boys had a Karate lesson downstairs, while I worked on a few things around the house.

Now it's getting dark and it's still really warm out, but the clouds are coming in, maybe it will rain.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Love My Family!

Right now...

Tim is working on the computer in the office, trying to get caught up on work, and not feeling very well. He is so responsible. He is such a loving and special guy.

Laura is probably relaxing after a long day of caring for her large, busy, and adorable family. They are a lucky bunch of people to have such a devoted and loving wife and mom!

Nina is certainly not relaxing. She is hard at work helping people get healthy, after a day that started with Lilly walking in a parade at 9:00am! She is such a wonderful mom and daughter! Lilly is also very, very blest!

John is at the home of his friend spending time with some of the best guys I know. I am so proud of how hard he has worked this past year. School was tough and complicated by some unexpected challenges.
He is such a caring and responsible son!

Brendan, playing video games at the moment and having a very strenuous chat with someone. That intensity and passion in him, that seemed to be a temper in his younger years, has become part of a young man with a spiritual focus that keeps us all on track. He is so in tune with God and committed to our Catholic Faith.

Paul is preparing to watch a movie in the basement. Our sweet youngest who is always saying nice things and thinking about his mom. He says "I love you" so many times a day, and means it! He is so sharp!

And Maggie... who loves everyone without reserve. We are so happy to have her in our lives.

Pentecost 2014

Happy Birthday Church!