Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thank You For Your Prayers

Keep them coming. Michael Talley passed away in the loving arms of his wife, Nicole. Here is her caringbridge (Monday, Jan. 25th) post:

My beloved Husband Michael passed away this morning around 7:20am. He passed away peacefully as I laid in the bed next to him. I felt a presence lay next to me just before I noticed he stopped breathing. I believe he gave me one last hug, until we are together again in the ever-lasting world of our heavenly father. I can't stop crying, my heart hurts so badly. I just got home for the first time in 30 days. I thought it would be hard but to see the pictures in our home of Michael gave me such comfort. He must be close by giving me comfort as he walks with Jesus. The children are still at school I'm sure they will know as soon as they see me. Please pray for me as I tell them.
I will be talking with Father this afternoon. I will let everyone know the arrangements at that time.

Thank you and God Bless!!
Love Nicole

The wake is tomorrow night and the funeral will be on Thurs. morn at 11am. Here is the local paper obituary:

Michael B. Talley

Leave a message at either site for Nicole and her kids, if you wish. It's going to be a rough time for them now. I know they are very supported by family and friends, but it won't change the fact that they'll have to go on without their daddy, husband, friend...I can't imagine.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Anna's Wedding Pictures (part 1)

Go HERE for the blog of the photographer and some samples of pictures from the big day! The cutest one is of the flower girls (can you spot Analise and Mari? It was the only one where Mari wasn't pouting about something or other that day!). I'm glad she didn't put any of me (except a very small one of the whole church and I'm the ginormous black splotch next to Anna on the altar) because I am HUGE! I know I know, I don't REALLY care, but it's quite shocking to see pictures of it all. I was so busy with the kids that day that I didn't have time to take pics myself. I'm so glad that she had such a great photographer and that I can share the site with you!

Oh, here's a shot of all the boys (all the cousins/kids of my siblings and mine) while we were getting ready and taking pictures. It's a good thing we had Matty there that day to help entertain the boys. He also served Mass and did a great job (rang the bells for the first time!), considering it was only his THIRD MASS EVER!

Shoot, I just realized that Johnny isn't in that picture! He's the same age as Mari and has really red hair. He's such a cutie...I'll have to find a pic that includes him.

THERE he is! Over there on the far left.
L to R:
John, Thomas, Wyatt, Matthew (holding Vincent), Roman, Niklaus

Tommy, Matthew and Niklaus are mine
John is my brother, Nick's
Vincent and Roman belong to my brother, Peter
Wyatt is my sister, Katrina's

(I stole this one from Megan Norman's blog post to show all the girls in the wedding. She is a fabulous, professional photographer and she did a great job that day with our huge family and the young age of the wedding party! She had tremendous amounts of patience, which should serve her well when she has her new little one very soon!)

Top row: Gabriella, Anna (holding Madeline), Anabella, Lucia, Analise
Mid row: Alexis, Paulina, Mariela
Bottom: Sofia, Anika

Gabriella, Anabella, and Paulina are my sister, Katrina's
Alexis and Anika are my brother, Nick's
Lucia and Sofia are my brother, Pete's
Madeline is my brother, Rudy's
Mariela and Analise are mine!

The only one missing is Katrina (mine) because she was a jr. bridesmaid and I don't have a picture of her, yet. I'll get one on here as soon as I see all of the professional pics!

Here's the toast I wrote and gave at Anna and Matt's wedding feast:

The kids instantly loved him. That day, in the garage when we all first met Matt, all the kids were in awe. They stared up at him and just grinned. Even my Matty and BUTCH all had sneaky smiles on their faces, as if they JUST KNEW the hyjinx they’d be getting up to in future years together. It really was a magical, mysterious day. Here’s what happened: After church, Matt and Anna stopped by to meet everyone at our house. My family met him first. I got my first impressions, asked all my nosey questions, and went into the house to get some snacks ready. Trine’s family came next and SHE got to do the same thing I did but I hadn’t talked to her yet, by the time that Nellie and Pete’s family made it over to meet him. Nellie came into the house and asked me what I thought. I took about two seconds to say, “He’s goofy, sweet, and really…I just think he’s really HUMBLE!” She laughed and said that she ran into Trine outside and that she had said the exact same thing! I look at our family like an old, beloved family puzzle. Sometimes we get it out and put it together even though the box is falling apart and we know that it’s missing a few pieces. Matt was one of those “missing pieces” and, of course, because he was made to by God, he fits perfectly.

Attention! (a sorta poem)
When sweet baby Anna was born, we all sighed with joy
Us two oldest girls didn’t think we could TAKE another boy!
We cuddled and loved her and treated her with care,
We fussed over and dressed her and groomed her curly blond hair
We treated her like a princess, and maybe that is why
When she grew into a toddler, she would often cry.
Did I say cry? I mean she would scream!...and flop on the ground, and dramatically say that everyone was being MEAN!
Around about the time she started grade school, she tried to fit in and be really cool.
But us two older girls were teens now and in our boycrazy years, we missed a lot of the angst and insecurities and tears.
Thank goodness she had friends like Lydia, to help carry her through, keep her honest, accountable and always true.

Along came Butchie, Anna’s new big brother. They picked on, teased and generally bugged each other.
But, they also shared their First Holy communion day, and many days of joy.
And big brother Butchie dreaded the day he’d have to approve of a boy…that would take away his baby sister and live up to his high expectations, someone who’d side with him in fights on family vacations. (pause for uncomfortable laughter from the family).
Then one day, Anna said she’d met her “match”, some dude in a uniform and a somewhat creepy ‘stach.
Well the ‘stach is gone, but the uniform’s still there, so Trine and I drooled and couldn’t wait to stare. And STARE we did when he walked up the drive. We thought “that dude is HUGE, at LEAST 6 foot five (turns out it’s only 6’ 3”)!
…and HOW could it BE that when Anna and he grins, they have identical teeth, dimples and chins?
I’m at the end of my lame rhyme so I won’t take anymore time and bore you with inside jokes and jeers. So pick up your glasses, hold them up high and simply just say “CHEERS!”

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pray, Keep Vigil

From today's post on Caringbridge:

"Last night Michael's body started showing signs that his time here on earth is coming to the end. His breathing has slowed down and his blood pressure is low. Organs are also showing signs of shutting down. I starred at him most of the night, afraid to close my eyes, that if I fell asleep he may take that last breath. This morning the nurse practitioner was in and felt he may have 24 hours left. My heart just sunk. I am aware of everything but it still hit me hard, to think I will soon never see him again. I ask everyone to pray for Michael as he begins his journey home. May Jesus and all his angels wrap their arms around him and guide him.
I love you so much honey, it's time to be free from suffering. I will always be with you our love has no end!

Love Nicole "

Please, light a candle and pray for this family tonight.

The Great Dane Delivery and a History of St. Michael

I was in my uncle's driveway with some of my kids. There was this giant, black great dane who had a HUGE lump on it's belly. Katrina was playing with it (the dog, not the lump) and was letting the dog walk over her, just because it could. I told her, "Watch out! I think that dog is pregnant!" but my uncle insisted that it was a boy dog and that it maybe had a tumor. I went over to it, did a sex check, and discovered that it had both...parts (thanks, Michelle of GGR...I'm sure this thought was inspired by your cattle confusion of a few posts ago) but I somehow had a feeling that if I just performed an ECV, something interesting would happen AND IT DID! The dog lay down and immediately delivered a HUGE puppy. I wiped it all up (even though it was born wrapped in bandages and baby blankets) and accepted back pats all around for doing such a good job.

Then I woke up.

I didn't get much sleep last night, because I was reading the book Faith, Family & Farming, by Bob Zahler. (Click here for Bob's site) It's all about the first settlers, first church, and history of the area I grew up in and still live in. It was SO fascinating! He did a really good job researching things and making it interesting. I think that, even if you DIDN'T grow up here or know anything about this place, you would even find it as fun to read as I did. There are many highlights such as the giant, castle-like building that was used as a sanatorium for "health" using the "wasserkur" method (some kind of crazy water therapy). Growing up there, I guess I didn't realize how unique our town was. We were the only town in our county to be built up around the church (and named after it). I didn't realize that the area designated as "The Big Woods" was so small and that we were included in it. I knew that the "pioneers" in MN were a hearty bunch, but I guess I didn't really realize just how hard life must have been for the first settlers who battled fierce winters, overly wooded areas to "break" for farming, and HORRENDOUS mosquitoes that they weren't used to in Germany. Some wonderful priest ministered to the mainly Catholics that came here. There was a totally fascinating parish battle with one of the priests, who was there for 14 years and managed to build up the parish but also managed to totally tick off a good portion of the town/parishioners. He wrote this awesome letter to Bishop Ireland (St. Paul) that could have been written today by an exasperated priest (except for the use of the words "saloon rowdies" and "hoodwinked". Heehee. Here's a great line at the end of his letter: "In a few years it's (the parish's) fate will be like the other German communities where the youth will just have learned enough German to be sarcastic; where secret societies steeped abundantly in Kraut, poison the religious life, and where they seek pleasures in organizations of dubious methods under the guise of religion." He was a very angry man. I think this town wrecked him, though. One of our modern priests came from the town that he went to directly after leaving this parish. He recalls how people remember that priest was super shaky and didn't live for very long after he moved there. There was even an attempt on the life of one of the priests BEFORE that priest came here. The people in this town have ALWAYS been snots to the priests, it seems. They were all a bunch of stubborn, German know-it-alls from the get-go (starting in the mid-1800s!).

I guess the apple doesn't fall very far, does it? ;P

(I am one of the descendants of the founders so I am posting this review because I think it's a super cool book and I learned a lot that I didn't know about the town in which I was raised...not because I was paid for this endorsement in any way! I even borrowed the book from Mom and Dad, for pete's sake!)

Monday, January 04, 2010

Ah Don't Loik SPAM

Does anyone else have the comment spam problem? I moderate my comments and I STILL get at least 4 or 5 ads for viagra, porn, cialis, all-natural cures...does ANYONE ever check out those spam links? Someone must, because those "they" people still develop evil ways to send out their product's advertisements to drive normal people (who DON'T need any of those things) insane.

Now, I'm going to surprise you with a totally off-topic thing. I know I've written in the past about my...skepticism of certain "Catholic devotions". I just have something I have to get off my chest.

Here it is (pleasedon'thatemepleasedon'thateme):

I don't believe that God painted the tilma of Juan Diego.

There, I said it.

I just don't believe that that image is anything divine. I had the digital copy in my home (you know, one of those "traveling", life size photos) for a few hours one day and I really studied it. It's kind of an ugly painting. I'm sorry, but it's sort of a badly painted painting.

I think that the story and the image itself MAY have had a hand in helping the central American indigenous people to conform to the Christianity of their occupiers, which helped the society to advance beyond barbarism, of course. I think that it's an INTERESTING story, but I don't think it's a true one. There just isn't a lot of proof. Most of the renditions of the story don't really ring very true. Especially the so-called "proof" of the images in the painting's eyes. That is such garbage. I see weird, bearded men in my bathroom tile and groups of evil demons on the wood of the doors in every house I've ever been in. I even see cartoon faces of various animals in the doodles that Tommy makes on the walls. That stuff is just a HUGE stretch of the imagination!

Please, don't get me wrong, I WISH I thought the story was true. It would make it that much easier and more fun to celebrate the feast day, display the iconic image in my home (way prettier than the ugly "creepy Jesus" image of St. Faustina), and have something neato to teach the kids about while we light those votive candles you find in the Mexican food section at the grocery store.

I still tell them the story when they ask. I don't tell them that I don't really believe it's true. I figure they can decide for themselves about those kinds of matters. I just tell them that there are aspects of our faith that are non-negotiable and lots of other aspects that are totally beautiful, but you can take them or leave them.

I leave them.

Of course, I don't OBSESS about disproving certain things, like SOME people. That sure would make my life miserable. When something is brought up about one of these subjects, I listen then make my opinion known. I think it's great that certain things make people light up and talk about their relationship with God in a good way...but then I go and open my big mouth and say "Eh, I don't really go for that kind of thing." when they ask me if I've read such and such a book or if I've ever experienced some great epiphany when reflecting on something like that. Here's my current list of "no, I don't really believe that stuff is true":
1. Our Lady of Guadalupe
2. Medjugorje
3. The Divine Mercy stuff
4. Charismatic renewal (self hypnosis, garbage)
5. (not as well known, but still strange)The Intercessors of the Lamb (weird, quasi-order of "nuns"...more like a cult)
6. (steer the HECK away from this deluded woman) Anne, a lay apostle

I heard about most of these through a Marian conference held at my CHURCH, so just because it's (supposedly) "endorsed" by a church, be careful.

I also think that a lot of the stories of uncorrupted bodies of saints are a little "out there". "Uncorrupted", to ME, would mean that they have perfectly preserved bodies that still look alive. I mean, even Medgar Evers was found in good condition when he was exhumed. Oh, also those frozen Peru people and tar people in France...I guess I'm saying that I don't necessarily think you need to have lived a sanctified life to be somewhat preserved by the earth after you are dead and gone. That whole "rotting corpse smells like roses" thing, though, I've never witnessed but I sure think THAT'S interesting!

Oh, and as long as I'm on the rant wagon, applied kinesiology is a parlor trick and a scam, and it really bothers me when people say things like "I know she's in Heaven, watching over you/me." when talking about a dead relative. I hope that you all say "I HOPE she's in Heaven, laughing her butt off at me." when I'm 6 feet under. I don't KNOW I'll go to Heaven...I HOPE so, but it's not a guaranteed dealio. Please pray for me? I need all the help I can get, obviously.