Friday, September 28, 2007

pictures of Ryan

Here are a few pictures of Ryan before he left for Camp Pendelton.

Major Pet Peeves

I just can't understand why it is that I work my heart out to do my best in my writing and when I ask for more money, I not only NOT get a response, but I get blackballed and don't get any further stories. This has happened several times and I just don't understand why this is happening.

Is it God telling me to stop writing?
Is He telling me to work on my books?
Is He telling me to get a different job?
Certainly He above all, understands how desperate our situation is at the moment, with Blaise's injury, our more than $300K in medical bills, etc.
So, what is the lesson here?
Should I give up?

I also don't understand how it is that you give your all, your love, your money, your life for your kids and then they go off to college or the military and it is as if you never existed. I wonder if they ever think back and wonder what their mom is doing? I wonder if they ever think, "wow, my parents did some great things for me, despite the fact that they aren't rich."

I wonder when it became a burden to call your parents, write a letter or an email to just say hi, or tell them about your life.......or thank you for the box you sent.

I guess that the closer I get to 50, the more insignificant I become.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rants and Raves about Texas Roadhouse

Because I can complain better than most poeple and generally get good results when I do so, I also believe it is imperative to compliment when service or behavior is above and beyond the ordinary.

Last night, in honor of Molly going off to college, Blaise, Molly, Erin and I all went to Texas Roadhouse in Kenosha. From past experiences, we knew it was okay to order the grilled shrimp over rice, the grilled chicken and the kids grilled steak because we were informed that they were good gluten free options.

The food tasted good, but wasn't gluten free. At least Molly and my choices were not.

Both of us ended up in the "throne room" all night with diarrhea, bloating, gas, you name it--we have it. My eyelids are so swollen today that they look like big fat nightcrawlers sitting above my eyes.

So, I wrote to corporate headquarters asking what we can do.

John, the manager from the Kenosha restaurant called me to apologize for the gluten containing food, he also said that they no longer offer a gluten free menu for this very reason---it is too difficult for them to avoid the cross contamination issues. He also apologized for the poor service we had--yeah, this was our first experience with a bad waitress...but he is sending us out gift certificates for another dining experience and he promises to try to do what he can to make sure we are not going to be 'glutened." He is also posting my email on his bulletin board, along with the lastest Newsweek article on Celiac.

I say, Good for you John and good for you Texas Roadhouse.

Now, I know we will come back.

I just hope we start feeling better soon--sorry Molly, this was supposed to be a nice memory!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Newsweek Article On Celiac Disease

Sept. 17, 2007 issue - In 1988, Alice Bast came home from a vacation in CancĂșn with what seemed like a classic case of Montezuma's revenge, but with one crucial difference. It didn't go away. As days of illness turned into months and years, her weight dropped from 130 pounds to 110. Her hair fell out in clumps when she brushed it. Her teeth began chipping, and she suffered severe fatigue, migraines, depression and tingling in her fingers and toes. "I thought I was dying of cancer," she says. But the worst moment came in 1990, two weeks before her second child was due. Bast suddenly became aware that the baby wasn't moving. Her husband put his ear to her belly and looked up with panic in his eyes. "I hear nothing," he said. Their unborn daughter was dead.

Twenty-two physicians tried and failed to make sense of Bast's symptoms. It was a veterinarian friend who finally suggested a possible cause in 1994. "Dogs sometimes have trouble digesting grains," the friend said. Within days, Bast had obtained a formal diagnosis of celiac disease—an intolerance for gluten, the protein in wheat, rye and barley. The resulting damage to the small intestine makes it hard for the body to absorb nutrients. Far from being dismayed, Bast was thrilled. "I wasn't dying. I wasn't crazy. I was elated!" she says. Better yet, just two weeks after eliminating these grains from her diet, she started feeling well again. In 2003, she established the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness to help alert others to the existence of the disease. "All those years I lost, I don't want other people to lose them, too," she says.
There are plenty of people who stand to benefit from her work. Until recently, celiac disease was thought to be rare in this country. But in 2003, Dr. Alessio Fasano at the University of Maryland's Center for Celiac Research published a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine showing that the ailment actually affects 1 in 133 Americans, or roughly 3 million people. And they're not just Caucasians, as previously believed, but African-Americans, Asians and Latinos as well. In 2004, the National Institutes of Health formally recognized Fasano's conclusions. Overnight, the disease went from "rare" to "common," although it remains vastly underdiagnosed. "Most GPs don't look for it," says Elaine Monarch, executive director of the Celiac Disease Foundation. But increasing awareness and more sensitive blood tests for the disease are leading to more diagnoses—which in turn are causing more companies to start marketing gluten-free foods. "When we got gluten-free beer, that was huge," says Vanessa Maltin, author of "Beyond Rice Cakes: A Young Person's Guide to Cooking, Eating and Living Gluten-Free."
Maltin once dated a man who panicked when she told him about the ailment, thinking he could catch it from her. But only people with a genetic predisposition can develop celiac disease, and only if they're eating gluten. (Sometimes it also takes a stressor—like an accident, surgery or an infection—to exacerbate the condition enough to make symptoms noticeable.) Celiac disease is an immune response gone awry. Normally, when food enters the small intestine, critical nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream through masses of tiny fingerlike projections called villi. But in people with celiac disease, the immune system mounts an all-out assault against gluten and any villi that have absorbed it. The villi become inflamed, eventually shriveling up, flattening out or even disappearing. Without functioning villi, the body stops absorbing food properly.
In many patients the result is diarrhea, bloating and abdominal cramping. But as Bast's experience shows, problems can spread far beyond the digestive tract. Many symptoms—like anemia, osteoporosis and a general "failure to thrive" in young children—result from poor absorption of nutrients. Several years ago, Jamie Yadgaroff, a Philadelphia lawyer, was alarmed to find that her 3-year-old son, Daniel, hadn't outgrown his fall clothes from the previous autumn. "He had a distended belly, with skinny arms and legs," she says. "He was so small, he wasn't even on the growth charts." But after going on a gluten-free diet in early 2003, Daniel grew four inches in a year and is now a normal, if short, 8-year-old.
Nutrient deficiencies are not the whole story, however. Celiac disease is also an autoimmune disorder that can harm many parts of the body. "Name the organ, and celiac disease can affect it," says Dr. Peter Green, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. In launching its assault on gluten, the immune system generates antibodies to an enzyme called tissue transglutaminase. This enzyme is an innocent bystander that acts on gluten in the lining of the intestine. But because the enzyme is also found throughout the body—in the skin, heart, thyroid, bones and nervous system—antibodies that attack it can direct their fire at any of these other organs, too. Green has even documented a connection between celiac disease and low levels of "good" cholesterol, a key component of which can be made in the intestines. And he's researching an association with infertility in both men and women, although the cause remains unclear. "Wheat may be the staff of life, but not for people with celiac disease," he says.
Mark Peterson / Redux for Newsweek
New Treats: Risotteria, a New York restaurant, offers gluten-free beer and other foods
The longer a person suffers, the more physical problems he or she is likely to develop—which is why it's good to get tested early if you have symptoms or if the disease runs in your family. Diagnosis is easy, if only doctors think to test for the ailment. In 2000, a blood test for the antibody became available. A positive test is usually followed up with a small-bowel biopsy to confirm the results, before patients are put on a strict diet for life. But there are worse fates than going gluten-free. "If God came down and said to me, 'You have to have a chronic disease,' I would pick celiac," says Dr. Ritu Verma, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, who has two children of her own with the disease. Patients don't have to undergo complicated surgeries or toxic treatments to be healed. All they have to do is eliminate wheat, rye and barley from their diets.
Not that the regimen is easy at first. Verma recalls feeling overwhelmed when her children were diagnosed in 2004. Wheat can lurk in a lot of unlikely places, from licorice and soy sauce to soups and gravies. Even blue cheese can have it, as the mold is generally grown on bread, then injected into the cheese as it ages. Mere traces of gluten can cause problems. "That means you need to ask when you order french fries in a restaurant whether the oil was also used to fry chicken nuggets," Verma says.
But living gluten-free has never been easier. In seven years the number of gluten-free products on the market has doubled, according to a recent presentation at the Institute of Food Technologists. These range from Bell & Evans's gluten-free chicken nuggets to Redbridge beer, which is made from sorghum instead of malted barley. Supermarkets like Whole Foods and Wegmans sell gluten-free breads and cookies. And certain restaurant chains, like Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba's Italian Grill, offer gluten-free menus.
Some high-end restaurants are developing gluten-free options, too. On a recent evening, CNN anchor Heidi Collins, the celebrity spokesperson for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, dined with Kelly Courson, one of the Celiac Chicks bloggers, at Bistango in New York. The fare ranged from bruschetta on gluten-free bread to a garlicky, gluten-free fusilli with sun-dried tomatoes, chicken and broccoli. "It's exciting to go to a restaurant and be able to eat what you want—not just plain chicken but bread, pasta and dessert, too," says Courson. "We're not wallowing in 'poor me'."
Certainly that's true of Shauna James Ahern, author of the forthcoming book "Gluten-Free Girl," a delightful memoir of learning to eat superbly while remaining gluten-free. On a recent vacation in the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband dined on fresh-caught crab and blackberries fresh off the bush, which they made into a gluten-free crisp, substituting almond meal, tapioca flour, quinoa flakes and cornmeal for regular flour. "When there's this much bounty, it would be a sacrilege to say my life isn't good because I can't eat bread," she says. She's clearly not suffering. Just call her a wheat watcher.
© 2007 Newsweek, Inc. Subscribe to Newsweek

Today is National Celiac Disease Awareness Day

Since Molly, Erin and I have have Celiac Disease--thought I'd post that today is National Celiac Disease Awareness Day, for those of you who do not know what this is!

Designating September 13, 2007, as ‘‘National Celiac Disease Awareness
SEPTEMBER 10, 2007
Mr. INHOFE (for himself and Mr. NELSON of Nebraska) submitted the
following resolution; which was considered and agreed to
Designating September 13, 2007, as ‘‘National Celiac
Disease Awareness Day’’.
Whereas celiac disease affects approximately 1 in every 130
people in the United States, for a total of 3,000,000 people;
Whereas the majority of people with celiac disease have yet
to be diagnosed;
Whereas celiac disease is a chronic inflammatory disorder
that is classified as both an autoimmune condition and
a genetic condition;
Whereas celiac disease causes damage to the lining of the
small intestine, which results in overall malnutrition;
Whereas, when a person with celiac disease consumes foods
that contain certain protein fractions, that person suffers
VerDate Aug 31 2005 02:56 Sep 11, 2007 Jkt 059200 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6300 E:\BILLS\SR314.ATS SR314 bajohnson on PROD1PC71 with BILLS
a cell-mediated immune response that damages the villi
of the small intestine, interfering with the absorption of
nutrients in food and the effectiveness of medications;
Whereas these problematic protein fractions are found in
wheat, barley, rye, and oats, which are used to produce
many foods, medications, and vitamins;
Whereas because celiac disease is a genetic disease, there is
an increased incidence of celiac disease in families with
a known history of celiac disease;
Whereas celiac disease is underdiagnosed because the symptoms
can be attributed to other conditions and are easily
overlooked by doctors and patients;
Whereas, as recently as 2000, the average person with celiac
disease waited 11 years for a correct diagnosis;
Whereas 1⁄2 of all people with celiac disease do not show
symptoms of the disease;
Whereas celiac disease is diagnosed by tests that measure the
blood for abnormally high levels of the antibodies of
immunoglobulin A, anti-tissue transglutaminase, and IgA
anti-endomysium antibodies;
Whereas celiac disease can only be treated by implementing
a diet free of wheat, barley, rye, and oats, often called
a ‘‘gluten-free diet’’;
Whereas a delay in the diagnosis of celiac disease can result
in damage to the small intestine, which leads to an increased
risk for malnutrition, anemia, lymphoma, adenocarcinoma,
osteoporosis, miscarriage, congenital malformation,
short stature, and disorders of skin and other
VerDate Aug 31 2005 02:56 Sep 11, 2007 Jkt 059200 PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6300 E:\BILLS\SR314.ATS SR314 bajohnson on PROD1PC71 with BILLS
Whereas celiac disease is linked to many autoimmune disorders,
including thyroid disease, systemic lupus
erythematosus, type 1 diabetes, liver disease, collagen
vascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren’s syndrome;
Whereas the connection between celiac disease and diet was
first established by Dr. Samuel Gee, who wrote, ‘‘if the
patient can be cured at all, it must be by means of diet’’;
Whereas Dr. Samuel Gee was born on September 13, 1839;
Whereas the Senate is an institution that can raise awareness
in the general public and the medical community of celiac
disease: Now, therefore, be it
1 Resolved, That the Senate—
2 (1) designates September 13, 2007, as ‘‘Na3
tional Celiac Disease Awareness Day’’;
4 (2) recognizes that all people of the United
5 States should become more informed and aware of
6 celiac disease;
7 (3) calls upon the people of the United States
8 to observe the date with appropriate ceremonies and
9 activities; and
10 (4) respectfully requests the Secretary of the
11 Senate to transmit a copy of this resolution to the
12 Celiac Sprue Association, the American Celiac Soci13
ety, the Celiac Disease Foundation, the Gluten Intol14
erance Group of North America, and the Oklahoma

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ryan's Platoon prepares for Iraq

Milwaukee Marines Headed Back to Iraq
Last Edited: Thursday, 06 Sep 2007, 4:43 PM CDT
Created: Thursday, 06 Sep 2007, 4:43 PM CDT
FOX 6 News
Related Items
Fox Co. Fallen Marines
or just enabling jstl so that
we can just write ${} and jsp takes care of the new lines.
WITI-TV, MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee's Fox Company Marines are getting called to a second tour of duty in Iraq. Nearly 200 members of the unit served several months overseas 2 1/2 years ago. This Monday they'll be reactivated for a new assignment in Iraq. One-hundred-80 Marines from the Fox Company will spend a few months in training at a base in California before heading overseas in January. They're expected to spend about seven months in the Anbar Province. During the company's last deployment to Iraq, five marines were killed in the line of duty.

Erin Serves his First Mass

On September 9, 2007
Erin (on right) served his first Mass at St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church in Antioch, IL

It was not your ordinary Mass, he served for Bishop Rassas as he installed Fr. John Jamnicky as Pastor of the Parish.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Latest Kenosha News Article

For Slide Show click here

School Days: Day 1
9/7/07By Karen Mahoney

SALEM — When Peggy Van Aken learned that she was expecting a baby, she was stunned. After all, her only child, Chelsea was already 13 years old. Five years, two months and 28 days after she was born, Claudia Van Aken was ready Thursday for her first day of kindergarten at Salem Grade School. Her teacher will be Linda Fisher, the same teacher big sister Chelsea had for kindergarten. In a scene that took place so many times this week, here’s how one little girl got ready for the first day of what will be her main activity for the next 13 years:

6:20 a.m. The Little Einstein’s lunch box sits on the kitchen counter with packs of SpongeBob Cheeseits and SpongeBob fruit snacks sitting beside. “We packed all of that last night,” said Peggy, “She’s also bringing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and broccoli, she just loves raw vegetables.”

6:30 a.m. Peggy climbs the stairs to Claudia’s bedroom, bends over and plants a kiss on her cheek. “This is your big school day,” she announced. Rolling over, Claudia whispers, “I know Mommy, but you waked me up too soon!” Still half asleep, Claudia sits up, rubs her eyes and carries “Tick,” her teddy bear, and “Bluebird,” her stuffed bird, down to breakfast.

6:40 a.m.
“Good morning sunshine,” Claudia’s father, Chris, says, giving Claudia a hug and a kiss. “What do you want for your breakfast?” Walking toward the refrigerator, Peggy opens the freezer and pulls out a square box, “She asked for pancakes,” she says. “Well, make sure mommy makes you some bacon too,” Chris says, winking to Claudia.

6:45 a.m. “This is one thing that has changed since we sent Chelsea to kindergarten so long ago, I used to make everything from scratch, now I just microwave it and it’s ready,” Peggy says. Claudia eagerly eats her pancakes and bacon and, between chugs of chocolate milk, wonders, “What about Mommy’s breakfast?” Sheepishly, Peggy retorts, “Well, I had a Diet Pepsi.”

6:50 a.m. Chris announces he is leaving for work. “Aren’t you going to stay until she leaves,” Peggy questions. “No, I can’t stay back here and watch you cry,” Chris says. “Hey I am not so bad, I might not even cry at all,” responds Peggy. Chris gives Claudia a kiss, “Have a good day sweetheart ...” he adds.“Hey Dad,” Claudia giggles, “don’t make me come over there. Bye-bye daddy.”

7:10 a.m. Dressed in a lime green, polka-dotted knit dress, white socks and matching lime green Crocs, Claudia is nearly ready — except for her hair. Sitting behind her, Peggy sprays her hair while combing through the tangles. “Don’t squirt me in the face!” yelps Claudia. “You have so many curls underneath, I have to comb them,” explains Peggy.

7:20 a.m. Claudia licks the top of the toothpaste tube after placing the paste on her toothbrush. “Hey don’t lick that tube, I use that stuff too,” Peggy says. Claudia giggles and brushes her teeth.

7:23 a.m. Standing in front of her parents’ full length mirror, Claudia gives herself a ‘thumbs up.’

7:25 a.m. Peggy and Claudia fill the lunchbox and zip it up. “Ta-Da I am finished,” Claudia shouts. Claudia hurriedly replaces the folder, crams her lunchbox inside the backpack. “There goes the sandwich,” groans Peggy.

7:30 a.m. Peggy places the backpack on Claudia’s shoulders to adjust the straps. “Let’s see if we can get this to fit you right,” she says, pulling them snug. Claudia tilts her head to look at the backpack and mumbles, “ The backpack feels fi ne Mommy, but when I squish my arms up against the straps, it sticks.”

7:35 a.m. Claudia spends a few minutes in the playroom before leaving for the bus, picks up several Bionicles and Star Wars creatures, talking to them while she plays. According to Peggy, Claudia has never been interested in dolls or dressing up as a princess. “She’d rather play with Star Wars stuff and dress up as Darth Vader than wear a feather boa,” she says.

7:45 a.m. Peggy announces it’s time to put on the backpack and walk to the bus. “Do we have enough time, still?” asks Claudia. “Yes, you do have time,” says Peggy as they walk out the door. “My mind is racing as to what I am going to do today ... The malls don’t open up this early, do they?”

7:48 a.m. Claudia greets children in the neighborhood as a group of eight congregate at the bus stop. “Hi Kyle” says Claudia, waving her hands. Peggy strokes Claudia’s hair. “Are you going to be OK?” Claudia shrugs off her mom’s hand, “Yes, mommy, I am not scared!”

7:50 a.m. The bus pulls up and Claudia hops on, turns once more to catch a glimpse of her mom and turns to sit down in her seat.

7:52 a.m. “Well, that’s that,” admitts Peggy. “I’ll be going home now and both girls won’t be there. I wonder what I’ll do now?”

8:10 a.m. Claudia is the first student off the bus and greets 13-year-old Dakota Berry of Trevor. Berry, an eighth-grader, is assigned as one of the school’s many ‘Helping Hands” to assist students in kindergarten through second grade in locating their classrooms. Grasping Claudia’s hand, he walks her through the long hall into Room 106, where Mrs. Fisher is waiting at the door.

8:15 a.m. “Hello Claudia!” says Mrs. Fisher. “I am so excited to have you here. I remember teaching your sister Chelsea a long time ago.”

8:20 a.m. Sitting in the middle of a row of students, Claudia unloads her backpack and at the instruction of Mrs. Fisher puts her lunchbox on top of the room’s refrigerator. “You can also put your backpack on the hook in your cubby,” her teacher says. Claudia hangs up her backpack and points to a pair of sneakers on the shelf above the hook, “Those are my fast shoes up there.” Class is about to begin.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Prayer Shawl Story in Milwaukee Catholic Herald

95 year old Crochets Blessings
by Karen Mahoney

KENOSHA —Last year, when Marie Chubrilo read a column about St. Elizabeth Parish healing prayer shawl ministry, she decided she would crochet a shawl and give it to the Kenosha church. That shawl led to another and another, and soon she created more than 100 prayer shawls for members of her church community. Proving that age is irrelevant when it comes to being involved in community service, the independent and spunky 95-year-old senior crochets at least one prayer shawl a week when she is feeling well. “Sometimes I have weak spells and I am out of it — I am homebound then and not really able to do too much,” Chubrilo said. “But then I have some good days and I drive my car to morning Mass, deliver the shawls I made and then wait to pick up more yarn from Mary Beth.”Mary Beth Drechsler, St. Elizabeth pastoral minister, learned about the prayer shawl ministry two years ago after attending a conference for the Association of Pastoral Ministers on Aging. Ministering in a parish with a large elderly population, the prayer shawl concept seemed to be a good fit, considering the number of members in assisted living, nursing homes, ill or homebound. “I thought it was good because whoever knits or crochets them prays for the recipient,” she said. “It is tangible for older adults who can’t make it to church; when they look at it, they know we are praying for them.”The St. Elizabeth prayer shawl ministry is patterned after one begun in 1998 by Janet Bristow and Victoria Galo following a Women’s Leadership Institute in Hartford, Conn. The women combined compassion and their love of knitting and crocheting into a prayerful ministry to reach those in need of comfort and solace, health and healing. Many blessings are prayed into every shawl. The shawl maker begins with prayers and blessings for each recipient and upon completion, a final blessing is offered before the shawl is given. According to Drechsler, Chubrilo is the record setter among the volunteer knitters and crocheters in the parish. “Just from June 2006 to June 2007, we had 93 prayer shawls made, and out of those Marie made 45 and the other 48 shawls took seven people to make,” she said. The shawls are given to people undergoing medical procedures, as a comfort after a loss or in times of stress, and to the elderly of St. Elizabeth who may be in need of some kindness.The opportunity to give back to the community is important for Chubrilo, who has always tried to find time for others. Widowed at a young age, she volunteered in her church, hospitals, and the community while raising three children and teaching kindergarten at Grant School for 25 years.According to her daughter, Anita Kostas, of Kenosha, Chubrilo created hand sewn animals for children in foreign missions and knit hats, scarves and mittens for area homeless for years until her eyesight began to deteriorate. “Then she went down to using a single needle; she loves it and says it gives her something meaningful to do,” she said, joking, “After all, busy hands are happy hands and by keeping busy, it leaves no playground for the devil.”Using her own pattern, Chubrilo weaves color combinations into the 24 by 60 inch shawl, and while doing so, prays a rosary for the recipient.“I always think that somebody in the family needs prayers, and while I am crocheting, I can pray for them,” she said. “I also pray that I can keep going and that my health will make it, and truthfully, there are days when I pray that I can keep up and finish the shawl. So far I have finished.”Another daughter, Beth Zoephel, also of Kenosha, reminds Chubrilo that despite her occasional health problems, God isn’t finished with her yet, so she has to continue creating her prayer shawls. “She also hasn’t taught me to do this yet and there is nobody to take over, so she has to do it,” laughed Zoephel. “I have tried to crochet a couple of times, but it just hasn’t sunk in — I can’t seem to understand how to pick up a stitch yet.”Of course, the frequent visits to see their mother often pose a unique problem admitted Kostas.“She is always crocheting and sitting in these giant piles of yarn,” she said, laughing. “In order for us to kiss her, we have to move away the piles because she is literally buried in prayer shawls.”There’s something comforting about putting so much time and love into something that will bring someone else joy, according to Chubrilo. She may never meet the recipients or know their needs, but the volunteers and staff at the hospitals, nursing homes or hospices do. Drechsler sees to it that those in need of a special prayer, whether they are terminally ill patients or those who are grieving, receive a prayer shawl. “For those who are grieving, or suffering, it is something concrete to help them feel like God is with them,” Drechsler admitted, adding, “It is really a circle of love, where one person helps another and the blessings come back to the person who made the shawl.”Often, Chubrilo receives thank you notes or phone calls from recipients who were moved by the prayer shawl.“It just gives me the shivers,” she said. “They are so surprised to receive them and they thank me over and over for making it for them. The notes are very touching and make me cry, too. The whole time I am working on the shawl, I think that maybe a man would like this or maybe a lady would appreciate these colors; sometimes it turns out pretty and cheerful and someone may enjoy the cheerfulness — and it seems that the shawl goes to just the right person.”An enclosed card reading, “This prayer shawl was made with love and prayers for you by the parishioners of St. Elizabeth. When you use this please remember that we are thinking of you and know that you are covered by the prayers and love of St. Elizabeth parish” is testament of the dedication and faithfulness of those involved in the prayer shawl ministry. “Marie says a daily rosary and it gives these people something to hope with,” Drechsler said. “There is a comfort in knowing that someone is praying for them; and they feel the warmth and strength in the shawls. It is just so wonderful that she can take a ball of yarn, which is nothing, and make these shawls which truly make a difference.”Each June, Fr. Roman Stikel, pastor of St. Elizabeth, blesses all of the shawls created during the past year at a Sunday Mass. According to Drechsler, the full impact of the prayer shawls wasn’t apparent to Fr. Stikel until he witnessed the effect firsthand.“We gave one shawl to a woman from our parish that was having surgery for ovarian cancer,” she said. “She was in church and Father was going to anoint her before surgery. We gave it to her and she was just sobbing while he anointed her. She took the shawl with her through surgery, through chemotherapy and radiation and is holding her own now. She has been done with the treatments for a year and has since started her own ovarian cancer support group.”The blessings in making the shawls are as great as the prayers going into the shawl, and for Chubrilo, it is her way of giving to others. “I am limited as to what I can do, so I am so thankful that I have the honor to make them,’ she said. “I am very blessed as I do this for others.”

Catholic Charismatic Renewal Story in Catholic Herald

Charismatic renewal celebrates 40th anniversary
Movement brings followers closer to Holy Spirit
By Karen MahoneySpecial to your Catholic Herald

For more informationor to register:
Out of the Desert ... Into the WaterWisconsin Catholic Charismatic ConferenceGreen Lake Conference CenterGreen Lake, WISept. 14-16(414)

ST. FRANCIS —Raising a 5-year-old son with liver disease hasn’t been easy for Karin Stewart. One thing that sustains her since her husband left the Catholic Church after 35 years to become a Fundamentalist Baptist is the Holy Spirit. “My life has changed in so many ways, first of all, I now have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ,” she said. “And for the first time I really know that God loves me so much. I had been told that God loved me many times while growing up, but now it is more than just words to me. I feel God’s intense love spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally. I am more aware of my sinfulness and talk to Jesus all the time.”Stewart is a member of God’s Whisper Prayer Group, which combines traditional Catholic teachings with such gifts of the Holy Spirit as faith healing and speaking in tongues. Members meet at Stewart’s home parish, St. James Parish, Mukwonago.Celebrating the Holy Spirit has helped her see the world through God’s eyes, something Stewart admitted she was unable to do prior to attending a conference sponsored by Catholic charismatic renewal. “I had never heard of the CCR prior to speaking with others who had been involved with it themselves,” she said. “I never really realized how much our Catholic faith was the backbone of our family until my husband chose to leave the faith.”Conference changed lifeAfter encouragement from friends to delve deeper into Catholicism, she agreed to attend the conference that changed her life. “Alex Jones was the guest speaker,” Steward said. “He is a convert to the Catholic Church and everything that he spoke about really hit home. Everything about the conference drew me closer to the Holy Spirit than I could ever have dreamed of; he gave me the gift of tongues at this conference as well, and I just adore this gift of prayer.”The Mukwonago group is part of a national movement that emerged within the Catholic Church in 1967. This fall, the local Catholic charismatic renewal, which represents the five dioceses in Wisconsin, will gather at Green Lake to celebrate its 40th anniversary. “Out of Desert ... Into the Water.” the sixth annual family retreat/conference will take place Sept. 14-16 and will include sessions for adults, youth and children. The conference, open to all, will feature nationally recognized authors and speakers, Patti Gallagher-Mansfield and David Mangan. Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan will be the principal celebrant at the Sunday Mass. ‘Pentecostal’ approach to worshipCharismatic Catholics typically participate in the same Mass, recite the same liturgy and believe in the same theology as other Roman Catholics. But they also worship in ways similar to Pentecostal Protestants: Lively music, spirited prayer and public profession of faith. Some charismatics, feeling filled with God’s spirit, speak in tongues, or unintelligible languages — a practice traced to the early Christians in the New Testament’s Book of Acts. The current movement grew out of a small religious revival 40 years ago at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. Students and faculty attended a weekend retreat and felt called to God, said Deacon Patrick Frye, conference co-chair and, since Pentecost 2004, the liaison to the charismatic renewal in the Milwaukee Archdiocese. “After the ‘Duquesne Weekend,’ the renewal spread to other universities such as Notre Dame, the University of Michigan and from there into the greater community,” Deacon Frye said. “It seemed at first to be primarily word of mouth and then people began writing about the experience. Those that began experiencing the outpouring of the Holy Spirit felt compelled to give their testimonies and invite others to experience the love and power of God. It was as if it were a new Pentecost. People could only explain it as a work of the Spirit.”Wisconsin’s first Catholic charismatic prayer group also began in 1967 at St. Benedict Abbey at Benet Lake in Kenosha County. The group consisted of monks, nuns and laity. The same year, Jack and Karen Swanson started the “Living Waters Ecumenical Fellowship” in their home in Oconomowoc. Both prayer groups continue to meet. According to Deacon Frye, Archbishop William E. Cousins appointed Fr. Ken Metz, current pastor of St. Mark the Evangelist Parish, Kenosha, as the first liaison to the Catholic charismatic renewal in 1976. “After 22 years, he moved to Rome to become director of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services for seven years. Fr. Richard Korzinek, active in healing and deliverance ministry, was our representative on the national advisory board, which has since become the National Service Committee for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.”In response to welcoming more lay involvement in the mission of the church, the archdiocese offers 20 English-speaking prayer groups and eight Spanish-speaking groups; the newest is forming at St. Lucy Parish, Racine. Promoting renewalAccording to Deacon Frye, encouragement of renewal is not just within the archdiocese, but from the Vatican, as Popes Paul VI and John Paul II were supporters, and Benedict XVI has also shown encouragement. “In 1975, Pope Paul VI said, ‘The church and the world need more than ever that the miracle of Pentecost should continue in history.’ He went on to describe the ‘spiritual renewal’ of the movement as a ‘good fortune for the church and the world.’ John Paul II stated in 1979, ‘I am convinced that this movement is a sign of the Spirit’s action. A very important component in the total renewal of the church,” said Deacon Frye. “His support continued over his long pontificate and on the eve of Pentecost 2004, he attested that, ‘Thanks to the charismatic movement, many Christians have rediscovered Pentecost as a living reality in their daily lives.’”Because of Stewart’s experience with Catholic charismatic renewal, she said her faith has deepened and she lives with a peace and joy that she never knew. “One can feel absolutely free and comfortable to express themselves prayerfully during a charismatic prayer group — just being able to lift up your hands and your heart while singing is so great,” she said. “To do that during a Mass could be a distraction, so prayer group is the perfect time to just reach out to the Holy Spirit in whatever way feels right for the individual.”During the weekly meetings, participants may share prayer intentions, pray the rosary, read passages from Scripture and give praise reports. “That is when we share our personal experiences where the Holy Spirit has worked or is working in our lives,” Stewart said. “Then we give glory and praise to Jesus to everything in our lives, good and bad.”Bible is ‘living Bible’In using the gifts of the Holy Spirit to lift the spirits of others and to build the body of Christ, it renewed her own love of her lifelong faith. “I never knew what a perfect gift the Catholic Church is for us until I became involved with the CCR,” Stewart said. “My prayers are much deeper, I adore the sacraments, the Mass, the sacramentals — everything. There is a purpose to everything that the Catholic Church teaches, and it is all a gift from God. The CCR has opened my eyes to the fact that our Bible is a living Bible. The Holy Spirit is still constantly with us, using us to lift up others. I hear Jesus speaking to me and revealing himself constantly and I realize now that there are no coincidences. Everything that is happening, every person that we meet, is God working in our lives.”While charismatic worship may seem foreign to many, those who decide to attend are often lifelong members and usually participate in a Life in the Spirit seminar, a common route to becoming “baptized in the Holy Spirit.”“Baptism in the Holy Spirit describes a stirring of power of the Holy Spirit within a person. It is a new release of the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to us in baptism and confirmation,” said Deacon Frye. “Most Catholics are not aware of the power of these sacraments. These gifts include the seven gifts of the Spirit we learn about as we prepare for confirmation; the charismatic gifts described in Acts and the writings of Paul, especially in 1 Cor. 12 and many more. All are given to build up the church. Folks active in the renewal feel that these gifts and charisms are still given today to serve the mission of the church.”The first step is the most difficult, admitted Stewart, who invites others to step out of their comfort levels to attend a meeting. “A newcomer may be surprised by how each individual chooses to express themselves to God,” she said. “Some may be very free spirited and some may be very quiet. We all pray in the way the Holy Spirit calls us to. Each person has a different, personal experience at CCR events or prayer groups. Open your heart and mind to God, and let him do the work in you. If the Holy Spirit calls you and you answer his call, nothing but perfection and love will occur.”Holy Spirit brings transformationAlthough life changing encounters with the Holy Spirit might occur at charismatic prayer groups or during “Life in the Spirit” seminars, Deacon Frye learned from personal experience that the Holy Spirit can bring transformation “whenever and wherever he wants.”“In 1983, I was at a retreat for deacon candidates,” he said. “At that retreat, the Father spiritually healed a broken relationship I had with my earthly father, and then overwhelmed me with the power of his loving presence. From that point on the Scriptures and sacraments came alive for me. My life had a new purpose and my ministry soared. At the time, I was not aware that there was a ‘charismatic renewal.’ In 1988, my spiritual director, seeing how I prayed and approached ministry, directed me to go to a meeting at “Fire of Love” prayer group at Mount Carmel Parish in Kenosha. I immediately felt at home and came to realize that my experience at that retreat five years earlier was a baptism in the Holy Spirit. The rest, as they say, is history.”

Visit between Andrew and William

My brother Andrew meeting our nephew William for the very first time!

More Labor Day Pictures

Lois, Susan, Mike, Mark & Lois

Georgianne, Valerie, Kelly, Dennis, Georgiann, Valerie, Kelly, Mark, Lois

Labor Day Gathering 2007

Kelly flew home to join us in celebrating Labor Day this year. We were blessed to have my aunt and uncle, Dennis and Georgianne, cousins Mark and Lois, brother Michael, his wife Susan and their daughters Valerie and Heather here, along with my brother John's kids Mike and Sara. We did the traditional grilling, salads, etc and had a great time. Nice kick off to fall. Left to right: (back row)Molly, Sara, Sean, Mike. (Center) Erin, Kelly, (Front) Heather and Valerie