Friday, August 21, 2015

The Influence of One

Tomorrow our parish will celebrate the life of a remarkable faith-filled woman, Melanie, who believed in the God of miracles.  Unknowingly, she has been responsible for a couple of miracles in our family.  This is the story of one.

Melanie was blessed to witness many miracles.  Honestly, I believe that all of us witness miracles daily, but far too often these miracles tend to slide by us and we consider them to be mere coincidences.  But Melanie was open to the possibilities with God, and she expected His best for those around her.  She told a few stories of miracles in my presence; I can only imagine how many more she has told to her family and closest friends, and still more that may be held only in her heart.  We, too, our own little family, have been the beneficiaries of her consistent ‘yes’ to God’s proddings.  

In 2008, we came home from visiting colleges with Kailyn.  There were many good possibilities, but nothing that seemed to be the right fit.  Amid the unpacking and getting back to the normal routine, I listened to a voice message on our home phone from Melanie.  She was asking for my help with something (right now I can’t recall what it was).  I called her right away.  I’d never received a request from Melanie before—nor since—and I was honored to be able to help.  

In the course of our conversation, I mentioned our recent college visits.  She asked if we’d considered The Catholic University of America.  Her daughter was a nursing student there at the time, and Melanie had nothing but praise for the school and the nursing program (Melanie was a nurse herself).  We were running short on time for getting all of this done—it was mid-to later November and the college Christmas break was coming quickly.  We made plans to visit almost immediately.

During our visit, there were signs that this was the place.  For example, when we entered the building that housed the nursing school, the motto, “The skills to succeed and the values to guide,” greeted us.  “This is the place,” ran through my mind.  I was hoping for a school and program that would excel in giving Kailyn a great foundation in knowledge and nursing skills while also giving her the strong  moral foundation so needed in our healthcare culture.

At the end of our visit, as we were walking to our car to head home, Kailyn said (without being asked), “I like it here.”  I broke down in tears of joy.  It confirmed what I’d been sensing for that whole visit, “This is the place.”  Most of you know the rest of the story.  Kailyn did attend CUA and graduated from their nursing program in 2012.

During her time there, she made many good friendships, learned a great deal about the human soul and relationships, and was blessed to have a nursing extern experience at Georgetown University Hospital.  This latter experience gave her some exposure to those that would later hire her to work in the PACU (recovery room) there.  Because of this opportunity, Kailyn remained in the DC area after graduation.

Then, in later 2012-early 2013, Kailyn met Dharshan through a mutual friend, also a graduate of CUA’s school of nursing.  They were married last year in September and brought new life into the world this July 13th.  Melanie is the reason that we are able to hold our newborn grand-daughter, Napalia, today.  Thank you, Melanie.  I, too, believe in the God of miracles.

This is the story of Melanie’s influence in our lives through that simple phone call in 2008.  Who knows how much more to this story lies in the future for our family, perhaps particularly for Napalia?  But most importantly, there is a deeper message here, never underestimate YOUR influence on those around you, for good or evil.  Even a simple phone call can change a life.

Friday, November 1, 2013


Recently, I was reflecting on the response that a friend gives when asked “How are you doing?” or “How are you?”  The usual response is, “Average.”  I don’t see this friend much anymore, but I think of that person often.  Why this particular thing came to mind, I couldn’t say.  But it made me think about how we, simply because we are human beings, are never average.  Not only do we have tremendous dignity in our humanity, but we are also here in this life for a reason, a purpose.  How can that be average?  What we do and say matters!  I think that is incredible! 

Considering that actions and words matter, then how we relate or respond to someone—in word or deed—often has an impact on someone else whom we may never meet.  For instance, if someone smiles at me, and I fail to return that smile, it may cause that person to wonder why.  Depending on their personal disposition, that may lead them to hold back a smile from the next person they meet….who might really benefit from a smile that day.   It probably goes without saying, but of course, a returned smile might have had an opposite effect.  The point is, my action affected someone whom I may never meet.  It could have affected them deeply.  I may never know. 
Today, many of us are celebrating the Feast of All Saints.  I pray that I live my life with the purpose of becoming a saint…in other words, becoming holy.  Not perfect.  Holy.  There is a difference.  In reading about the lives of the saints, one soon realizes that many were far from perfect—in fact, some led despicable lives at some point before turning their hearts toward holiness.  May we, together, strive toward holiness keeping in mind that we are all in this together and all of our actions, big and small, affect others...some, maybe many, whom we may never meet in this life.
May you be blessed.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Salmon Pie with Egg Sauce

Last night, I got a text from our daughter, Kailyn.  It was a tempting text.  Why?  Because it was a picture of one of my favorite meals—salmon pie.  And she wasn’t anywhere near home to share it!  So, how is this a blessing?
First, I am so grateful that we have the technology available so that my daughter can share her life as an independent young woman with us.  It was a blessing to know that she is carrying on a family tradition of making salmon pie—with egg sauce, no less!  (I didn’t even think that she LIKED egg sauce!)  I am continually amazed at the small ways that I can be surprised....realizing that I don't always know what I think I know (another blessing).  It was also wonderful to be reminded that it’s high time that I make a salmon pie to enjoy with my husband, Mark, even if I will be the only one of the two of us enjoying the egg sauce...then again, this too can be a blessing, more for me!  Oh, my, that's rather selfish! But I don't think he will mind. 

Please allow me to bless you all with our salmon pie recipe (along with the egg sauce, of course):

Salmon Pie (this recipe is from my mom, Theresa, with a little tweaking of my own)
15 oz. can of salmon, flaked and cleaned of skin and bones
3 potatoes, cooked and mashed
Medium onion, diced and sauteed
Seasonings to taste (salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley)--we don't measure...sorry!
Pie crust for a two crust pie (My mom always used and swore by “Jiffy” we do, too.)

Mix all ingredients (except crust) together, then place in prepared crust.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes or until crust is golden.
Egg Sauce (this recipe is straight from…sadly I don’t have my mom’s recipe)*

Melt two tablespoons of butter and add 2 Tbsp. flour in a saucepan over low heat.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Slowly add one cup of milk, stirring constantly with whisk and allow to thicken.  Add two diced hard-boiled eggs and heat through.  Pour over salmon pie when serving.
*Perhaps my daughter could chime in and share how she made her egg sauce?  ;)

...may you be blessed...

...may you be blessed...

This is my first real attempt at a blog.  I pray you are blessed not only by what you may read here, but most of all, in realizing the many blessings present in the ordinary and extraordinary stuff of life.