Enter Through the Narrow Door

Will I see my mother, grandmother, classmates and neighbors in heaven? Will they know me and recognize me as the person I was here on earth? I often wonder what my mom is doing in heaven right now. Did she know that her family celebrated her one-year anniversary of being received into heaven? Did she know we had a party and invited her family and friends to eat the foods that she used to serve us?

Some of her friends told stories about her at her party. They told about the time she went gambling and forgot to pencil in her eyebrows. She had to stop at Wal-mart, buy an eyebrow pencil and  draw in her eyebrows before she could go blow her money! She would carry “bubba teeth” in her purse in case she wanted to put them in before going into a restaurant. She was a talented pianist and would play for her friends at parties so they could sing their favorite songs.

These are thoughts I’ve had over the past year as I’ve learned to live without my mom being here on earth. I still feel her presence and think of her often. There are days that I think about calling her, but suddenly remember she is no longer here.

There are some verses in the book of Luke that reference our time of death. Luke 13:24-25 tells us that we should “make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.'”

When it is my time to die, I want Jesus to let me in. I want to be united with Him and all those I’ve known on earth. Losing my mother last July and then going through cancer myself always brings my own mortality to the front of my mind. I want to be part of that big feast that is referred to in Luke 13:28-29. I want to meet those who have gone before me and spend eternity with Christ and with them.

Matthew 7:13-14
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Jenny’s Vermicelli Salad

Last weekend I was in Arkansas celebrating my mom’s life. We had a party and invited some of her best friends and served some of her favorite recipes. One recipe, Jenny’s Vermicelli Salad, was the biggest hit at the party.

My mom used to make this special Greek salad that had vermicelli, black olives, green onions and feta cheese. My cousin Suzanne had saved an email from 2006 where my mom had given her the recipe. In the email, my mom said she was going to call this salad “Jenny’s Salad” because Suzanne’s youngest daughter Jenny loved the salad so much.


I got to read the email and see the sweet note my mom had written to Suzanne. It touched my heart. It made me remember all the times I came home from Kansas City to visit my mom and she had made that same salad for me. She knew I loved it and so it was always in the refrigerator. 


If you are familiar with Luke 10:38-42, you know the story of Martha and Mary. My mom was always a Martha serving, helping, doing, and staying busy. She became a Mary when she was diagnosed with cancer. I was also a Martha until I was diagnosed with cancer. Sometimes I wonder if that’s God’s way of slowing us down and begging us to sit at his feet and just spend time with him. I am now a Mary and I now love sitting in silence and listening to what God wants to tell me. The laundry can wait. I love that God has slowed me down.

Luke 10:42
There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

Camp Kateri Tekakwitha

I recently had the opportunity to spend 3 days at Prairie Star Ranch in Williamsburg, KS. My two daughters, ages 16 and 12, and I attended Camp Kateri Tekakwitha’s  “family camp.” I had specifically chosen this family-style camp because my daughters and I had been through a rough winter with my diagnosis of breast cancer in October 2012. I wanted to be with both of them in a nurturing environment where we could have fun, but also be attentive to our spiritual life at the same time. We had the most awesome 3 days and will definitely be back next summer.

As we made the 1-hour trip from our home in Lenexa, we all 3 anticipated an exciting time horseback riding, swimming, eating s’mores, and just having fun. We did not anticipate the Holy Spirit’s presence to be so visible during our 3 days. I truly believe the fruits of the Spirit were shown to us by Deacon Dana Nearmyer and his wife, Debbie, and all the staff members of the camp.

In the book of Galatians, we learn that the fruit of the Spirit is something the Holy Spirit can produce in the life of a believer. When we accept Christ as our Savior and as we live in obedience to God’s commands, the fruit grows and develops in our lives. I witnessed love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and gentleness in all the staff workers. I fell in love with this group of people working at Camp Kateri Tekakwitha. 

When we arrived at camp, staff members greeted us with a big smile and unloaded our cars. It was like having valet service without having to give a tip. They carried all our bags to our air-conditioned room with a smile. When we opened the door, we were greeted with a hand-written note that welcomed us. There was also a basket of goodies like lotion, shower gel and toothpaste in case we had left any of our items at home. My 12-year old especially liked the “family prayer” that was framed and set out for us. 

Prairie Star Ranch is a beautiful place to relax. It is surrounded by lots of trees, a lake, fresh air and no electronics. My daughters did not carry their cell phones around so we could just talk to each other. That was probably the best part of the camp. On Saturday night during the bonfire, the sky was full of stars. I was so amazed at how clear the sky was and I could just feel God’s presence all around us.

By Sunday around lunch time when we had to start packing, my daughters did not want to leave. They were actually sad to pack up and have to go home. The bonding between us and the time away from our phones, tvs, iPads, iPods and computers was awesome. We even had some crafts to take home! We had decorated a framed picture of the three of us and it is now in my kitchen. I am reminded of God’s peace and tranquility each time I look at the three of us in that photo. I am already looking forward to family camp next summer.

Verse for today:  Galatians 5:22-23
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Welcome to my blog

I am a cancer survivor, soon-to-be single mom and a Catholic. Many of my friends mentioned that they missed reading my CaringBridge blog and I missed writing. My last post on CaringBridge was July 7, 2013. 

Since that time, I’ve celebrated Megan’s 16th birthday, had a couple visits from my dad, made a few trips home to Arkansas, visited former neighbors from King Street (Jessie and Debbie) and given my witness at church. 


I celebrated my mom’s one-year anniversary by going to Arkansas, having a party, Mass and visit to her graveside. There was some closure for me and I was able to be at Calvary Cemetery without crying. I made it through the Mass without crying.  I’m healing, moving on and experiencing life as a motherless daughter! 



Matthew 11:28-30
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”