Tag Archives: God

This Little Light of Mine

It’s been a long road. I kept telling myself that over and over, and somewhere along the way I got tired of hearing myself say it — first joking about it, then realizing how true it’s been. Then I started to think about just how exhausted I was — dragging myself around with a leg that didn’t move well, even though the femoral nerve was pretty much back, and learning that the cancer in my pelvis was now debilitating my hip and it created a stress fracture. The pain was getting worse. When did it all change so quickly? So it begins again…………..

I looked to God for the answers. I talked to him everyday, all the time, like he was with me, like I always did — but where was he, I couldn’t hear him anymore? I felt… hopeless. Whoa, what is going on? I completely trust God. I focused on that, but somehow, I don’t know I believed it anymore. He wasn’t answering my prayers. Okay, so his plan and mine aren’t meshing right now — I get all of that, but it was making me very sad. I prayed for God to send me light.

I knew that somewhere along this long road, I had to recharge the light inside of me. I was always so full of positive light in everything I did — always living large. That light got me through some of the darkest moments without ever losing faith or hope over the past 15 years. As disappointing as it is that I have to deal with this again, it had to still be inside of me.

Green trees with the glorious sunshine.

Green trees with the glorious sunshine.

When I was a kid, I would love to lay on my back and look up through the trees, at the stars shining like diamonds in the sky, under the Christmas tree with all it’s twinkling lights, or at the clouds on a blue-sky kind of day. Debbie and I used play a game — who could find the best shape in the clouds. There was always a dog. A face. The mane of a wild stallion. Maybe a cross. Or a streak of light breaking through the clouds. I used to pretend that streak of light would break out of the sky and shine directly on us from the Heavens. Hmmm. It had been a long time, but I decided to meditate and take myself back to our grassy front yard on a puffy cloudy, warm and sunny day to imagine this exact scenario. Only now Debbie and I are adults, but we still see some of the same things. I focused on the streak of light and imagined the light coming from Heaven into my body. I would send some to Debbie too, because she was fighting her own battle. Then I prayed, “God send us light.”

The plan came sometime in late February that we would genetically test my tumor cells. You’ve probably heard about that kind of stuff, but do you really know anyone who’s been through that? So regardless of my condition, it gave me something to be excited about! Well, the process was delayed by three weeks with an administrative error, but I eventually got the testing and the results, and there was a new drug — a targeted bio-agent that would kill my cancer cells. There were actually four, which I hear is fantastic, but only two had been approved by the FDA and my doctor sent both to my insurance company for approval. In the meantime, one of my other doctors did a cryoablation to help get rid of some of the pain I was having. About the same time, I got the news that the bio-drug was approved by my insurance company. We finally had a treatment plan!!! I thanked God for he was unveiling his plan, while continuing to pray. I had to wait three more weeks to start the treatments. This new drug would only “target” my cancer cells and not touch many of my normal ones, therefore there would be very little side effects and no hair loss. I was starting to shine.

One morning I woke up and the sun was coming in from the window in the bathroom on the back of the house. We have these nifty dual view honeycomb shades — you can pull them down from the top and a more sheer fabric appears, while still blacking out the bottom. We keep all the blinds in the bedroom and bathroom about 12″ from the top so we get a lot of natural light into the rooms. Well, that morning the sun was so intense, it shone through the sheer fabric and directly hit the large statue I have of Mother Mary that sits on my dresser — she stands about 22″ tall, looking down with her hands outward. And that light shone across her tiny hands and belly. I couldn’t believe it. I imagined the light was coming from Mary’s hands to me and I prayed, “Mother Mary, send me light.” Things were getting better. This was a sign. I was shining brighter!

All it really takes is a little morsel of some happy news in the right direction to put me on top of the world. If that happens, you can’t bring me down. I had my worst and best day this past Tuesday, in that order, and ever since then, this little light of mine, shines once again. I had gone to the hospital to have my blood work done — something I have to do every week during treatment. I had planned to take myself, but for some reason, the pain in my hip and leg was greater than it ever had been. This had me worried, but it didn’t matter at that very moment, I had an appointment at 9 am, so my sister took me. After my blood was drawn, my nurse took my temperature and blood pressure, and said, “Pam, do you have a fever?” It was reading 100.3°. I was like, huh? Yes, I mean, I’ve been having low-grade fevers all weekend, I’m not surprised. I promised her if it reached 100.5°, I would call my doctor.

Well, I got home later than planned, and my digital manager,  Jen and I had a call at 10:30. So I rushed in and up the stairs  — it’s like being in slow motion with my crutches and the pain! — Jen and I wrapped up in 15 minutes, because I could barely stay awake for the call. My eyes were so heavy — I could not stop it — something was pulling me to sleep. Pulling me… I woke up with a jump, completely soaked from head to toe, like I had taken a shower. Wow, it was so strange. So, so, so strange. I stood up, I had no pain. No fever. What had just happened to me? It was a sign. And today, my tears were happy ones.

God heals in unexpected ways — maybe it’s just some relief from the pain for a few days while I go through the process, or less anxiety as God speaks to my mind to tell me it’s going to be okay. While this journey is way too long in my opinion, I am following his plan for me.  Today I send light to all of you, my friends and family who have prayed tirelessly for me over the past few months. This too shall end, and nobody looks forward to that day more than me.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Ohhh, this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.

Always B E L I E V E !

Serve God joyfully. Let there be no sadness in your life: the only true sorrow is sin.
— Thirsting for God by Mother Teresa

A Lesson from Dad

Today was the first day I had to drive in the snow all season. First, we haven’t had any snow until last week, and traffic was at a stand still in many places. It was actually ridiculous, because everyone knew it was coming for two days. I can never understand that. 

Today we were at a meeting in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, and it lasted until about 3:30 pm. When we came out, our vehicle was completely covered, as were the roads. It wasn’t a white-knuckle drive back to the office, because we took our time. After all, I had my staff with me too. And as we drove north, the snow was less and less, which was a relief! After dropping off my staff at the office, I continued on home. As I was coming through our housing plan, my neighbors were snow blowing and shoveling their driveways — we had less than 1″ of snow! It was almost comical.

My Dad snow blowing the driveway after a big snowfall. Gosh how I miss him!!!

My Dad snow blowing the driveway after a big snowfall. Gosh how I miss him!!!

Then, as I was looking through my photos to update my cover picture, I came across this photo today of my Dad. There he was smiling at me as he ran the snow blower in the driveway at home. I try to think what he may have been saying to me — I don’t remember, but whatever it was, he was making a joke, because he was laughing. I can tell by the look on his face. Memories flooded back! I thought, “wow, what a perfect day for this photo to pop out at me.” We lived in the country with beautiful pine trees everywhere and no neighbors in sight. The snow would stick to the branches — it was diamonds sparkling on the limbs. Now that I live in Cranberry, and I do have neighbors, it’s not quite the same. Okay, it’s nothing like how I grew up. The serenity is gone, and now I live in a fish bowl.

My Dad worked hard to give us the home we grew up in, and he loved the land where he built our home. He taught us to love the outdoors and enjoy the beauty of it. Every year we hiked the entire property, and Dad would spray his land markers with fluorescent paint. He’d show us different mushrooms or where deer traveled by the markings on the trees. We’d hike to this one high spot where you could see over the entire area. It was just amazing. My Dad was so amazing. There was nobody like him. And in the winter, he’d help us make a killer sledding hill, and he even got us these giant inter tubes from someone he knew that had large equipment. Dad made sure we always had fun.

I believe that God gives us these opportunities to see the beauty in life. If I never saw a sunrise or a sunset — wow, how I would have missed out. Or if I had never seen the ocean, or built a snowman — wow, again how I would have missed out. Sometimes we’re in such a rush, we miss all these stunning things around us. All these things that help us find serenity in our lives.

So today, I unexpectedly came across a flood of memories with just one picture. One photograph that I’ll cherish forever. One photograph to remind me to stop every once in a while and enjoy what is all around me. A lesson from Dad.

Always B E L I E V E !

I Give It Up

Thursday is my CT Scan. It was supposed to be last week, but was moved because my doctor was going away for the holiday. Good for him, he deserves some time away. I’m a little nervous because I’ve been having pain in my leg, in my hip — somewhere that I can’t quite pinpoint for the past month or so. I know I hurt a muscle in it when I twisted my leg to trim my toenails. I had trouble walking for over a week and a half. Thankfully that pain went away.

Yesterday I twisted it again when I fell off the jet ski and my leg was still stuck in the jet ski for a few seconds. I knew I hurt it again. When I finally was able to climb on the boat, my left leg was shaking and weak like it was in shock. It calmed down, but when I got home after sitting in the car for over an hour, I couldn’t put my weight on it to go up the stairs, but I could walk on it. It seemed weak. In the end, though, I have to admit, it was pretty funny — what it must have looked like as I slipped and fell into the freezing water. I can only imagine what anyone who saw it thought about it!

I’m nervous about what may be going on in my pelvis. The pain tells me that the cancer is still a problem. I pray for the right solution to zap this thing once and for all. I hope that my doctor does a major cryoablation like he did in 2012. This one needle zap doesn’t seem to be working holistically. It kills the cells where they zapped, only to have the tumor grow on another side. We need to zap it from all sides and kill it once and for all. And my imagination is running wild. I’ll have pain and when we look at the scan, it’s a very small active area we’re talking about.

I have this worry and fear every three months and my mind makes up all kinds of things. But I remind myself that I trust God’s Plan for me, and I give this worry over to him. So today, I give it up. I’m not giving up. I am giving it up to God.

Always B E L I E V E !

The Sound of Silence

So here it was, just one week after Easter and we left mass frustrated — again. We went to mass at St. Ferdinand and were meeting our friends for dinner after that. They were all going to St. Killian, but Tom and I don’t care for mass in an auditorium. We would have gone to our own parish, but didn’t want to get caught up in the First Holy Communion ceremonies. So here we were listening to this awful chanting music for the next 20 minutes before mass started. Are you kidding me? I couldn’t pray or think or even concentrate on anything. And then that’s how mass went too. At every turn, the music interrupted the mass. This is how the music was there during lent, but I thought it was just something special they were doing then. I guess not — oh, how I don’t like change for change sake. The music used to be one of the best things about St. Ferdinand.

It seems like we complain after every mass anymore. We left mass and Tom turned to me in the car and said, “this seminar next weekend better be inspiring, because I’m thinking I’m not sure about going to church anymore.” My heart sank, but I knew too that I felt the same way.

Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose
The seminar by Matthew Kelly of Dynamic Catholic was the following weekend. We drove about 3 1/2 hours to Mechanicsburg, PA and booked an overnight stay so we could drive back to Pittsburgh on Sunday. I wasn’t feeling the greatest, because I had the stents in my kidneys changed two days before, and my doctor used bigger stents which were a little uncomfortable. But there was no way I was missing this!!!! We desperately needed inspiration!!!!!

And wow, did we get it! The program was almost four hours, but there were three breaks during the presentation. Matthew Kelly is the best speaker I’ve ever heard — period. The material was what we needed to hear and mix it with his own sense of charm and humor — simply AMAZING. Seriously, I laughed out loud during that four hour period more than some of the comedy shows I’ve been too. His jokes were clean, but so funny, because they were about things mostly only Catholics could relate to. When he portrayed Jesus with his disciples, he played a role of light humor with meaningful lessons. He tried to make us see that all these holy people we put on pedestals are really just like us, including the disciples. Matthew Kelly was all about statistics. He had them too — he talked about a multi-year research project that showed the current state of Catholicism in America. He compared our percentages to those of Europe. He shared insight into developing a closer relationship with God — finding God’s purpose in your life. Seriously, INSPIRATION.

The best part of it being in Mechanicsburg was that Tom and I talked about it off and on the entire drive home. It not only brought us closer to God, but closer to each other. We had meaningful conversations about what it meant to us that we embrace our Catholic faith. We talked about all those things that we were going to implement in our lives.

We started to make real action items. The first is silence. With silence comes clarity and allows us to hear the voice of God in our lives. So my new morning routine starts once the alarm sounds. I shut off the music and lay in silence. And I begin my morning prayers at that time. I start praying about my day and talking to God about the things coming up — what I’m worried about or excited about or just not sure. As I lay there, the ceiling fan is almost hypnotic. I also have these two prayer books. Well, they’re pretty beat up. I read sections from them every single day. I’m going to have to repair the spine on the one book. I have the same routine, now only I added 15 minutes of silence where I can talk with God.

Tom and I are reading the Gospels every night — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Well, we’re still on Matthew, and we read 1-3 chapters out loud every night before going to bed. We’ve only missed a couple of nights — nights when we were just too tired or one of us went to bed earlier than the other. We read out loud and comment on things we didn’t realize, how we interpreted something or just something that didn’t make sense. It’s a much different experience reading out loud in the silence together. I’m hearing things so much more differently than in church with all the commotion at times.

I’m also reading the book that was part of our packet from the event. It’s called The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. Much of what was discussed during the night is reinforced in this book. I’m about half way through and am finding some additional techniques in prayer and following a new format for making prayer more meaningful. It’s such an easy read and I gave one of our copies to my Mom on Mother’s Day.

I feel as if I’m on this wonderful journey that I’ve been invited by God to take. I don’t know how this came about. I remember seeing a link on Facebook from my friend Val to join Matthew Kelly in his Lenten program online. I signed up for those daily messages and after that, something was awakened. That’s the only way I can describe it. And, it’s interesting that I’ve been seeking silence for the past couple of years — trips to quiet towns — away from it all, away from the craziness. Maybe God has had a message for me and I just couldn’t hear it. Well now, I’m ready to listen.

Always B E L I E V E !

Ordinary Opportunities

Today is Good Friday. I’ve looked back my Lenten plans from February 15. My goal was to identify the road blocks in my life that impede God’s plan for me, and I outlined steps I could take to let go of things from my past. Today, those are complete and this is the first Lenten season that I spent time in prayer and meditation with God daily.

I wanted to share one last video post from Matthew Kelly. It’s message is truly inspiring. I wish everyone a very Blessed Easter and lots of opportunity.

Opportunity

 ALWAYS  B E L I E V E !

Falling In Love

Well, in keeping with my Lenten theme the past couple of posts, I wanted to share a beautiful quote by Father Pedro Arrupe. It’s about Love and it really spoke to my heart. So for all of you who aren’t following Matthew Kelly’s daily Lenten messages, here’s something to noodle on.

“Nothing is more practical than finding God,
than falling in love in a quite absolute way.

What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read,
whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”

Always B E L I E V E !

Oh, one last thought — check out Father Pedro Arrupe’s Wikipedia page. What this man experienced in his lifetime was nothing short of amazing.

The Five

Did you ever see the movie, “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” with Jon Voight and Ellen Burstyn, among many other wonderful actors? In the movie, Eddie, played by Jon Voight, takes a journey at the end of his life that involved a conversation with five people that had a significant impact on his life in some way or he significantly impacted theirs. And it’s realized that “the five” are chosen by God and determined by the choices he made in life. For Eddie in the movie, he had a lot of unresolved issues with the Vietnam war among other things in his life. As a side note, it’s an amazing movie and I highly recommend it. But I brought it up, because I felt like maybe I was in my own “the five” scenario while in the hospital! 

So I was admitted to the hospital for almost a week and by the second day, the doctors decided that maybe I was at risk for a blood clot in my legs, so they sent me to have a test taken to determine my actual risk. The test was like a sonogram where they put gel over my legs and used a mouse-like thing to take pictures of the blood flow. As I’m getting this test done, I made small chat with the woman doing the test. She was in her late 20’s, a pretty Asian girl. Her mannerisms were vaguely familiar more so than her looks. She asked me what I did for a living, and I told her that I owned an advertising agency in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. She looked at me and said, “Oh my gosh — I used to work for you in Zelienople.” I looked at her and realized she was one of my first hires as a graphic designer and the first person I ever had to let go after just a few months. That was very difficult for me at the time and left a mark on my heart. I wanted to crawl under the cot I was sitting on!

I had to sit through that 30-minute test, completely vulnerable — it was unnerving. She politely told me that she realized graphic design was a very crowded space and she went back to school — she felt healthcare was where the jobs were. I thought maybe she hadn’t still found her true calling, as she seemed kind of blasé about it. She gave me her email address and we parted with friendly smiles. But it was awkward and unsettling for me.

And somehow I had a glimpse of maybe how Eddie felt to relive some very uncomfortable moments during his lifetime. Clearly, this encounter for me didn’t hold the kind of significance of the five that Eddie experienced in the movie. But it made me think about how our actions today may come back around full circle. And in this case, it’s not something I could simply walk away from or ignore.

The whole situation made me think about how important it is to ask for forgiveness when we need to. This scenario was more awkward than anything else, but next time it may not be. It makes me sad for the things I can never make right. And it makes me realize that I’ll have to answer for all my actions one day. I tried to imagine who “the five” might be that I meet on my way to Heaven. If you ever get a chance to see the movie, it’s a good one.

Always B E L I E V E !

Finding Perspective

It’s been an unexpected month of September and here we are — well into October! I haven’t posted in some time, because I’ve been in the hospital and recovering. It’s really hard for me to be optimistic when I’m struggling with so many things at once. That’s when I don’t write on the blog. I take everything to heart, so thankfully nothing is physically wrong with my ticker!

I used to think that having a “big heart” would make me a better manager and motivator, but that theory is continually proven wrong, so I believe it’s quite the opposite. Okay, I’m being cynical — I don’t really believe that — I believe in people and try to see the good in everyone, even when it hurts.

I know a few people with “big hearts.” I’m not talking about a physical larger heart, but figuratively speaking — it’s having a heart that cares too much, puts others ahead of one’s self (even at your own expense) and is easily persuaded and manipulated. Yep, that’s me and for those of you with big hearts, you know who you are. I’m always trusting, always worried about what others think or are feeling and always vulnerable. I feel personally attacked at times. And then flip the coin — when I hurt someone else, I can’t get over or let go of that either.

A friend and mentor of mine talked me through some things this week, helping me to separate the personal from the facts. It’s having that broad view that makes me realize that this big heart of mine just has too many holes in it. I know I need to let some things go — to accept things for what they are. This week, I felt deceived when presented with some vague story that didn’t make any sense or have any facts. I don’t like conflict, but I’d prefer it over being masterfully manipulated. And then I go through a series of emotions — I’m hurt, then deeply hurt, then resolute, possibly happy, then angry as more details begin to emerge, and finally hurt again.

I need to find perspective.

First, it’s not just about me!

Second, it will only take a few days to dissipate and harmony restored. So I need to relax.

And lastly, and most importantly, it’s just not that significant in the whole scheme of life. So it’s truly a matter of finding perspective. It’s taking this “big heart” of mine and using it to listen to what God is saying to me. I need to quiet myself and hear his words deep within my heart. And then it will be as it should be.

And then smile, because I am physically feeling on top of the world!

Always B E L I E V E !

Beyond Viral

A lot of clients will say to me, “I want that to go viral, or create something for us that will go viral.” If it were only that easy — that I could snap my fingers and there it is — a viral marketing strategy that exceeded expectations beyond anything imaginable — pure magic. And nobody is quite sure what that mix is that sets something skyrocketing.

The ALS or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, started a campaign in late July that featured celebrities challenging each other to “take the #icebucketchallenge,” to raise awareness for ALS and make a donation. It was about 10 days ago that the challenge hit Pittsburgh when Pittsburgh Penguins’, Sidney Crosby, took the challenge on the local news. And two days ago, my husband Tom was nominated to take the challenge.

My Facebook news feed is filled with friends taking the challenge and challenging each other, making donations — and above all — raising awareness. I’ve never seen anything like it. From national celebrities to everyday moms and dads, from grandparents to aunts and uncles — even children as young as two or three years old — The audience is so all-inclusive. It’s good, clean fun. It’s all these little moments as we come together in one collective effort that I can see God working in our lives.

We donated to livelikelou.org, a non-profit organization in Pittsburgh that raises awareness for ALS and strives to provide meaningful impact to those affected by the disease locally. A good friend and colleague lost his mother to ALS just a couple of years ago, and his dedication to local and national awareness for ALS is inspiring, as he continues to support scientific research targeted at finding a cure. You can find more information on his efforts at ALS Connections. I can’t even begin to imagine how many millions of dollars this will raise for the ALS Association — and it’s time they found a cure!

In less than three weeks, every person I know has heard of the ice bucket challenge. I guess God is really at work in our lives in a very big way, too. And that’s beyond viral.

Always B E L I E V E .

What’s Tradition Anymore?

My morning radio station has been asking listeners to call in and let them know what kind of wedding they had and why. Was it a big wedding? A small wedding? In a church? On a beach? Why did you do what you did, and if you could do it all over again, what would you do differently? All kinds of crazy listeners called in. I think they probably aired the most outrageous.

“Yep, I had my baby at 17 and as soon as we could, we got married by Justice of the Peace. My daughter’s wedding will be big, since I didn’t get that,” one woman called in. Another caller was a guy who said that he got married in 15 minutes by the Justice of the Peace and then had lunch at McDonalds. Wow, I have no words for that one. Another girl called in and said planning was so stressful, she and her fiancé eloped. Another girl got married on the beach with 64 of her closest family and friends. She said it was three weeks of the most fantastic vacationing. Three days of these callers, all different, yet all the same. There was a major key missing with them all.

Megan and Aunt Pam

My niece Megan was so excited on my wedding day.

Not a single listener mentioned tradition. If you look at the history of weddings, they were rooted deep in faith and religion. Being married in a church, under God and witnessed by all those who love you is an important part of the marriage ceremony. If you’re from Pittsburgh, the city has all kinds of ethnical backgrounds, including Italians, Hungarians, Slovaks, Germans, Irish and Polish, among others in the wonderful melting pot of the 19th and 20th centuries — you’re familiar with tradition. The city celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with the second largest parade in the country. Pittsburgh is also home to Polish Hill, Little Italy, Troy Hill, Deutschtown and celebrations are held throughout the year, such as Oktoberfest, Little Italy Days, numerous religious parish festivals and so many more. And all these wonderful ethnicities celebrate the sacrament of marriage in all its grandeur through their religion.

My Mom and Dad’s wedding was held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Beaver Falls, PA. Sadly, it’s no longer there. It was a magnificent church and a beautiful setting for the ceremony. I will sit and watch the 7 mm film, now translated to DVD, sometimes with my Mom. We try to identify as many relatives and friends as we can. I’m so sentimental and I cherish this video, knowing I’m lucky to have it. It’s such a period piece as well — from the 60’s — with the wonderful chic summer dresses the women wore to the shined up black sedans of the time. That was 51 years ago and it speaks of the same traditions I had at my own wedding just 13 years ago.

It’s sad to me that this tradition is no longer important to many people. Well, why would it be? Attending mass on Sundays is rarely practiced. We miss mass from time to time, but we always go the next week. My Catholic faith was always an important part of my life growing up. It reinforced our values and made us think about what we can improve in ourselves. It shows me the way every day and leads me in this life. Many people are leaving their religions to go to churches that are more secular. We are losing the traditions, so now weddings are quick and cheap, or crazy outrageous. Spending $10,000 on a wedding gown is almost as much as our whole wedding cost! It’s just ridiculous, materialistic and consumerism at its best. One show I watched on television had the mother of the bride replace all the carpeting in the reception hall, because “it didn’t match their colors and the style was sub-par to them.” Who are these people?

I do have an open mind, and try not to judge. I know people’s dreams are not the same as mine — one of my close friends was married on the beach in Aruba, and it was beautiful and a wonderful week of celebration. Other friends were married in Las Vegas with close friends and family. All true believers and faithful Christians. But, I am elated when I receive a wedding invitation to a Catholic ceremony in a Catholic church with a full Catholic mass. I am impressed when I hear about someone else’s wedding in the church — of any religion. I’m even more impressed when an employee tells me a story about going to mass twice at St. Paul’s Cathedral, because she and her husband had the time wrong, so they had to go back later. That’s dedication. And yes, it’s extra credit with me if all these are important to you too — that’s just who I am.

I believe in tradition and sacred vows! So for me, if I were to call in the radio station, I would tell them that my wedding had just under 200 guests. And the church was the center of our day, follow up with a giant celebration at the Holiday Inn. It wasn’t overly elaborate by any means. We made sure we spent money where it was most important — like making the church beautiful with lovely floral arrangements. Our reception had all the traditional elements — from the Pittsburgh cookie table to the money dance. I imagined that day my whole life and listened to all the wedding stories from my relatives. They say every little girl dreams about her wedding, and my dreams were rooted in the faith passed down to me — with little nuggets and sentimental gifts that I carried with me. But I am guessing the radio station would find my story mundane. What’s tradition anymore?

So as Tom and I celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary this week, I’m going to pray that people find their way in this life through faith. And the key to that faith can be found in all those fantastic stories that our great grandparents, grandparents, parents and relatives tell us about the traditions in their lives. When you realize those traditions, you may just find a little faith along the way.

Always  B E L I E V E !