Monday, October 29, 2012

Team McArthur Yard Sale Fundraiser

Follow that sign!! From the flea market to the yard sale. . .
Saturday Oct. 27, 2012

Luckily, the weather held out for us despite being cloudy and overcast the entire day. We had a steady flow of yard sale patrons for a majority of the time. We are so grateful to everyone who donated items or bought them, or like me, did BOTH! What?! There was some good stuff there. :) And when you're sitting there all day looking at these things, a few items are bound to catch your eye!

So what's next you ask? We are in the workings of a Chick-Fil-A Spirit Night with a tentative date of November 27th. Vanessa McArthur just launched the new web page Healer in Your Heart that raises awareness about Adam's condition and aids Team McArthur in our fundraising efforts. You can track us there or on the Team McArthur Facebook page.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

School + Camping = Scamping

Nature.  Fresh air.  The smell of acorns and dried leaves. These things were calling to my soul—as they always do when I’ve been away too long. Being in a spiritual funk for a week or so now, I felt my girls and I needed to do something a little different to mix it up a bit. Some serious schooling, cleaning, preparing for a house appraisal, and just being plain tired (a habitual state for me) had us caged up in the house for a while like gerbils. We needed to break out and get into the great outdoors.

Glamping, heard of it? It’s the idea of Glamour Camping—camping with style. It's a MaryJane Farmgirl term. Well my girls and I decide we would do our own variety of camping—“scamping” (school +camping). We would school outdoors. So we loaded up our schoolbooks, packed snacks, water bottles, a lunch and some of the other comfort items we felt we might need for an extended stay outside and away from the house, and drove up the road to a nearby park. Granted this park was only minutes from my house. However, for our first test run in scamping it was ideal just in case, God fobid, things should go awry---li.e. tantrums started flaring or we should have forgotten some vital item like diapers or baby wipes! We found a lodge towards the back of the park that was vacant. It had its own small playground, perfect for allowing the little ones to play while still allowing me to be close enough that I could work with my older girls.

We set up shop, preparing our food station and pulling out our school work.

I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out. You never do with 5 kids! Even the best made plans with the sincerest of intentions can be turned upside down when dealing with fickle, little people.

It was phenomenal!

It was a special experience that made memories for my girls. Anna and Cailin were tickled pink with the idea that they were doing their learning outside at the park. All I kept hearing from them was, “This is the best school day ever!!” We had relay races on the playground. We enjoyed our little picnic basket lunch. Watching the leaves "rain" down from the trees, we decided, was heavenly.

This is an experience we will definitely be repeating. We have ideas for perfecting our scamping skills--like making a "Packing List" of all the items one would need for a day of scamping so as not to forget anything and make these outings easier to prepare for. Perhaps, keep some handy "extra" educational tools and camping items in the car in a Scamping Emergency Supply Kit  (i.e. an extra supply of pencils, bottles of water, a diaper or two, etc...). Our scamping day held out a beautiful temperature for us but with the weather on the brink of turning uncomfortably cold we decided our scamping season might be cut short--we needed to fit in as many as we could while we could! Before our season is through our goal is to scamp on Sky Line Drive. We have a season pass and it is only a short distance from where we live. Our dream is to take our scamping supplies and hit up one of the numerous yet gorgeous picnic posts along the route. How awesome would that be?


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Team McArthur Flea Market Fundraiser

On Saturday October 20, 2012 Team McArthur set up two tables at a local flea market. Friends and church members donated an amazing number of items. A garage full, in fact, many of them brand new! It was a wonderful experience and we met some terrific people at the market with their own stories to share of loved ones who have battled or are battling cancer. We made an outstanding profit from this event!!! It will go a long ways to assisting the McArthurs with Adam's treatments. What didn't get sold at the flea market will have a second chance this coming Saturday in a follow up yard sale.
A couple of our "junior" volunteers.

One of our two tables. . .

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The story of Mother Teresa and Adam McArthur continued...

I've just completed a day of home school, picked up my oldest daughter from her school, cleaned up a mess of a house, the younger kids are tucked away for a few moments--I've got my hot country peach tea, I'm sitting down in front of my computer ready to continue telling you the story of Adam McArthur and Mother Teresa.

Alright. Where was I?

The prayer from India, that's right! Tracked it down today.

Almighty and powerful God, nothing is impossible to you.You worked so many miracles while walking on this sinful world. The blind received sight, the lame walked, the dead brought back to life. Listen to the prayers of this humble LMC group in union with our Blessed Mother Teresa and grant a speedy healing to Adam McArthur from brain cancer. We ask this through your mighty name. Amen.
That is one of the most beautiful prayers I have ever heard. It almost brought tears to my eyes.
I still didn't have a relic though. I still didn't know really where to look. I was having a heck of a time getting in touch with Sr. Clovis, the new Supior General of the convent, who ironically (again) was the very sister I drove around D.C. during my first Missionary of Charity visit years before. She had recently switched houses and was now the sister I needed to speak with that had the authority to make the decision on the relic.
Back on August 31st, Vanessa had posted to our online chat group that she was feeling drawn to a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I had recommended she visit Monsignor John Esseff's web page called Building a Kingdom of Love: The Triumph of the Sacred Heart to see if she could glean some spiritual nuggets from it. You see, Msgr. Esseff was one of the two retreat directors when I attended my first and only LMC retreat a few years before. He is totally amazing. He's a priest of over 50 years, a former exorcist, a spiritual director and confessor of Mother Teresa, who met and is a spiritual child of Saint Padre Pio, who to this day is a retreat director to the Missionaries of Charity around the world. I could write an entire blog post about my experience at that LMC retreat years before, it made such an impression on me. I've been following him ever since. So anyways, her mention of the Sacred Heart made me recall Msgr. Esseff.
That one reply I made days before recommending the site was important but at the time an isolated incident. It was made before being given the mission to find a relic. I thought since his web page was proving to be a help for Vanessa I'd email him and ask for his prayers. In that same email I relayed the chain of events that had me now seeking a Mother Teresa relic. I asked if he'd join me in seeking her intercession and say a prayer or point me in the right direction in finding this relic--as I truly felt JUST finding a relic of hers would take a small miracle, it seemed so impossible of a task. That was on September 3rd.
September 4th, I received a reply email. He had prayed for Adam and had a second class relic he was willing to send to the McArthurs if I forwarded him their address! WHAT?! Had I done it? Was that small miracle taking place and my mission being fulfilled? All it took was one email? My heart was about to beat out of my chest. Of course I got the address to him ASAP.
September 5th, Monsignor mailed out the relic. September 5th. Mother's feast day! (Ironically?!)
I am pleased to report from Vanessa that Adam prays with that relic every day and sleeps with it under his pillow at night. I love that part! Seeing how he has brain cancer keeping that relic close to his head--under his pillow--where he needs the healing. I say that because whenever I pray for him and pray for Mother Teresa's healing of his tumors I envision her gently, lovingly, placing her two hands on Adam's hair and leaning in to kiss his head. A kiss of healing. A kiss of peace. A kiss of love.
I told you yesterday that I would conclude this story. But this story is yet to have an ending. It really has only begun a new chapter. And God is the only one who knows how it will end. I told Vanessa back on August 31st,  "I get this sense that something beautiful is happening here--you know like that supernatural kind of beautiful ♥."

"Something" beautiful is definitely happening.
Perhaps we will not receive our miracle in the form that we seek but I truly believe that miracle is not going untranspired. And besides, with all the prayers being sought for Adam from Mother Teresa, their souls are surely old friends by this point :)
I have stayed to my commitment to pray a continuous novena for Adam. I pray the Jesus is my All in All Novena. I just keep cycling through it--over and over again. You can read some exerts and recite it here.
In addition I pray the Prayer for Canonization:

Jesus, you made Blessed Teresa an inspiring example of firm faith and burning charity, an extraordinary witness to the way of spiritual childhood, and a great and esteemed teacher of the value and dignity of every human life. Grant that she may be venerated and imitated as one of the Church's canonized saints.
Hear the requests of all those who seek her intercession, especially the petition I now implore... (mention here the favour you wish to pray for).
May we follow her example in heeding Your cry of thirst from the Cross and joyfully loving You in the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor, especially those most unloved and unwanted.
We ask this in Your name and through the intercession of Mary, Your Mother and the Mother of us all.

So, I'll keep you posted as to the new unfoldings with Team McArthur and any new revelations of the story of Adam McArthur and Mother Teresa. To be continued ;)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What I've been busy with and how Mother Teresa's involved...

Two posts in a row! Looks like I might be making a come back to the blogging world! I may not have been blogging this past month and a half but life certainly didn't stop being busy.

Aside from birthing babies with my first doula experience I've been busy with some charity work of sorts. So grab a cup of hot tea, sit back and settle in while I tell you story about Adam McArthur and Mother Teresa . . .

I'd like to introduce you to Adam McArthur.

This is Adam and his beautiful family: Vanessa, his wife, and his three boys. A few friends from church and I began a little informal "prayer group" where we meet, or try to at least, once a week in each other's homes and pray--and chit chat. Maybe a bit more chit chatting than praying, but it's all good, right, if it's all in the name of fellowship. Vanessa is a part of this group. Her husband was diagnosed with stage three brain cancer last year. She's a fellow blogger, as well, and has documented her families experience with this diagnosis on her blog Healer in Your Heart. It's been a heart breaking story--which is no story to them, it's their life--with ups and downs, steps forward and steps backwards. But mostly it's a story of inspiration--perseverance, faith, love, hope. Listen to Adam recount this past year in this interview, and then I'll tell you how Mother Teresa entered this story:

Healer in Your Heart: The McArthur Family and Brain Cancer 10/13 by The Warrior Catholic | Blog Talk Radio

Amazing, isn't he. What character! What faith! (What an accent too? Did I mention he was English?!)

Of course our little group of prayer friends has kept Adam in our constant prayers over this time, but after Adam's first cancer treatment failed, we went from prayer to action. Team McArthur was formed. We have a Facebook page here, that I ask you take a look at--perhaps "like" it if you feel so inclined--to show support, keep abreast of our fundraising endeavours and receive updates on Adam. To date we've held a "Donut Sunday", selling donuts after mass at church one Sunday, run a SweetFrog's Frozen Yogurt fundraising event, and are currently putting together a flea market and yard sale event coming up this Saturday October 20th.

Above are a couple photos of a few of us Team McArthur members and Vanessa. Notice the pink sign in top photo? That was one of my contributions to the event :)  Team McArthur was even interviewed by our local news station!! Watch here. Read here.

So where's Mother Teresa in all this you say?! Well while attending my Lay Missionary of Charity meeting last month I asked my groups' prayers for Adam and his family. It was the end of the meeting, another member had asked for prayer for an acquaintance of hers, and now everyone was beginning to pack up their things. I almost hesitated to add my prayer request at this time thinking maybe I should just let it go until next time, not wanting to bother anyone with my interruption. But then I thought, "Well, I owe it to Adam and Vanessa to ask for a few more prayers for them." Adam had just received the news that the first treatment had failed and the tumors had grown back. They needed all the prayer they could get. So, I blurted out one last request before closing. Perhaps, it was meant to be?! That one prayer request turned into a mission. Fr. McAfee looked at me in all seriousness and instructed me that I needed to get a first or second class relic of Mother Teresa out to Adam and I was to seek her intercession for him. Mother Teresa is beautified and needs one more miracle to receive canonization to become a saint. We were to pray to Mother Teresa for Adam's healing.  My request went from seeking prayer to seeking a miracle! I was way out of my league (gulp). How was I--a no one of importance, totally unworthy, have-you-seen-my-list-of-past-sins-?, homemaking, mama of six--supposed to get my hands on a relic of Mother Teresa???? 'Maybe I should have kept my mouth shut' crossed my mind for an instant. But no. I was going to try my hardest to fulfill this mission I was given.

To merely get my hands on a relic was going to take a small miracle. Where do I even start to look for one? How do you go about a task like this? One of my beautiful, fellow LMC members, Mary Ann, gave me a call with some helpful information. I was to start by calling the Missionaries of Charity in D.C. to see if they would be willing to bring out their first class relic to Adam, if they wouldn't be willing to relinquish it to the custody of one of us Lay Missionary of Charity. So I tried calling. I failed at reaching the sisters but was successful in getting Adam's name put on their prayer list--so at least the sisters would be praying for him in the meanwhile as I was tracking down this relic. *By the way, ANYONE can call one of the Missionary of Charity Houses and have a prayer request made. If any of you ever have a prayer request please call them!*

The mixed up timing of this was ironically perfect. I received my relic commission from Fr. McAfee on September 1st. I did my 3-4am adoration on Sunday, September 2nd, I was planning on beginning a continuous novena to Mother Teresa at my session on my own accord. Later that morning I received an email from my LMC Link stating ALL LMC's were to begin a Novena to Mother Teresa in preparation for her feast. Perfect, I thought! Only I didn't realize until later that that email was from a few days prior, somewhere in the chain of emailing it got delayed. My novena wasn't going to end on Mother's feast day on September 5th, mine would end on September 10th--Mother's Inspiration Day! This was the day she received her vision of Christ thirsting on the cross and got her inspiration for the Missionaries of Charity. Hmmm... interesting...

Mother Teresa used to say, "Let's storm the heavens with prayers". In this spirit I sought out prayers from a fellow LMC in India. When Adam mentions in his interview receiving prayers from India, this is who he speaks of. Here is the prayer this LMC sent in reply:
   ummmm...well I can't seem to locate the prayer at the moment *sigh*
 It was so beautiful. So perfect. Where did I put it??
      Let me track that down for you, it has to be shared....

Maybe this is a good place to stop. I'll leave you hanging on as to how I came about getting the relic. Stay tuned tomorrow for the conclusion of this story ;)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My First Doula Birth

I haven't posted in some time. For one, life has been crazy busy--it needed to be simplified while I got my grasps on it again.  Blogging was one of those things I felt could go...

But I had to stop by and share that I assisted with my first birth as a doula-in-traing this past Friday October 12, 2012!! A good friend of my mine, also a doula, allowed me to shadow during the prenatals and birth. IT WAS AMAZING! This mother was AMAZING! It was her first birth and she handled it like a champ. I am still in awe of her. Mom chose to have her baby at a gorgeous birth facility. It was a serene water birth. The facility trains midwives, so Mama had the 2 main midwives, 4 student midwives, 2 doulas, her mom and husband present. Each one the midwives, and of course us two doulas, were there being supportive, saying words of support and encouragement, utilizing pain relief methods and contraction couching. It was like watching a bunch of birth muses flocked around a birthing Mama oozing with genuine love and support, totally awesome to witness!  At 2:44pm beautiful, baby girl, Colette, arrived at 8.12lbs and 21 inches long.

I am so blessed and grateful to the Mom and Dad for allowing to be a part of this intimate moment in their lives. And a big thanks to my friend for providing me with the opportunity and experience.

Welcome to the world baby girl!