Family Friday 95 (2)
Dory fish, and Baby Me-mo fish, and Me-mo Dada fish, and Me-mo Mommy fish too! (Evie insisted I draw Nemo’s Mommy)
Family Friday 95 (3)
Singing in the rain, under the sea!
Family Friday 95 (4)
Evie sweep!

Family Friday 95 (5)

Family Friday 95 (6)
Helping Daddy plant fruit trees and berry bushes.
Family Friday (7)
Evie and Mommy’s inside garden.
Family Friday (8)
Baby ‘Resa and Baby Margaret
Family Friday (9)
Baby Margaret plant some seeds? Okay!
Family Friday (10)
Evie is not convinced these are connected with veggies in any way, but playing in the dirt is fun.
Family Friday (11)
You will see, Baby Girl. Trust Mommy.
Family Friday (12)
Working on learning how to use chopsticks!
Family Friday (13)
Date Night for Ryan and Kathleen!
Family Friday (14)
First time riding facing forward, Coming home from Deedee and Papa’s House! Such a Big girl!

 

On Monday afternoon, Evie was perfectly happy, healthy, her normal self. Then, right before bed she threw up twice. On Tuesday she was tired and worn out feeling.

 

Evie Seizure visit (1)
That is not our normal Baby Girl. 😦

On Wednesday morning, while Mommy was still at work (night shift), she threw up two more times.

Then she had a seizure, but the paramedics couldn’t find a fever higher than 99.

 

Evie Seizure visit (2)
Mommy doesn’t get to sleep today. That’s okay. Evie needs her.

Evie had another seizure at her pediatrician’s office. He sent us home to watch her, and when she had another we called the ambulance again and went to Mary Bridge Pediatric Hospital.

 

Evie Seizure visit (3)

She had three more seizures in the hospital, for a total of six, including one that broke through the atavan and keppra.

Evie Seizure visit (4)
Maybe just because I am her father I am biased, but I think she is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

Father Kyle came to the ER to give her Anointing of the Sick.

They admitted us and we had the most sleepless and anxious night of our lives. Except for Evie, who was in a drug and exhaustion induced sleep.

 

Evie Seizure visit (5)
Not herself at all Thursday morning, but she wanted to read “Bible Book” with Daddy and find Baby Moses.

 

Evie Seizure visit (6)
She fought the EEG tooth and nail, until Mommy snuggled next to her. Then she could calm down and watch “Broom” (i.e. “Room on the Broom”).

 

Evie Seizure visit (7)
Even Singing in the Rain can barely make it better.

 

Evie Seizure visit (8)
When Daddy wasn’t up in Seattle taking finals (yuck) he was down in the hospital reading books with Evie. Mostly “Otter in Space” because that is her current favorite.

On Thursday she had no more seizures and slowly started coming back to her normal self. Thursday night Mommy finally got a few hours of sleep.

Hundreds of people all over the world were praying for her, and dozens of friends were calling, texting or messaging to offer whatever help we needed. We had so much food in our hospital room we couldn’t eat it all, and had to bring most of it home (our refrigerator is now packed).

 

Evie Seizure visit (9)
Evie found the toy room at the end of the hall!

Because by Friday she was almost completely back to normal, just a little wobbly. But wobbly or not, we couldn’t keep her in the room any more. She had to be up and exploring around. Can’t keep a Baby Girl down, Yo!

And now we are home, with meds to prevent more seizures and more meds in case she has one, and we will be seeing the pediatric neurologist again at the end of April. We don’t know for sure why she had seizures, especially without a fever, and so many so close together. All her tests came back normal, so the doctors think it was most likely a virus of some kind.

We will take it. God is good to us. The timing could not have been better. Ryan was home when it all went down, and he only had to be in Seattle for a few hours a day while she was in the hospital. Somehow he managed to pass all his finals as well. Kathleen was home too, and was able to take a night off and be done with work for the week so she could be there the whole time. The hospital was only a couple of blocks from Uncle Adam’s house, so he and Aunt Maryanne were able to keep us well stocked with delicious home-cooked food.

And Ryan doesn’t go to Seattle at all next week! Instead he will be working short hours at a clinic only about ten minutes from home, thanks to a classmate who traded rotations a few weeks back.

We love you all, thank you for your prayers. God Bless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My conscience wears a loincloth of camel hair.
His stomach, drumskin taut from hip to gaunt
Protruding ribs, bloats and ripples beneath
The harsh and swelling cry. Through busy streets
The press of unwashed bodies, mingling, shoving,
Sweating over their various sundry trades,
Commerce and compromise, muffle the voice, deaden
The shrill, piercing, long-accustomed cry:
“Repent!”

Within the academic towers
The scholars pause their insufficient trade
In formulations inadequate to truth
Or grace, to parse and analyze his words,
Extrapolate his childhood memories,
Apply the latest theories, check his sources,
Influences, background, syntax and every shade
Of meaning inherent beneath the truth he says,
Or does not say.

Poets hold easy commerce
With his “artistic vision.” His naked plea
Draws knowing professional courtesy, they nod and snap
Their fingers and murmur “Mmmmmm…”
“Yes!”
“Oh yeah!”
They clap him on the shoulder and call him, “Brother.
We too are misunderstood, we understand.”
But they will never believe. Belief requires
Relinquishment of doubt, acceptance of joy,
And joy and faith are just not “in” these days
And so they casually wear artistic angst,
Artfully draped across the shoulder and back,
At a jaunty angle like the capes of musketeers,
And neither believe, nor even understand.

Seers drown their visions in cups of tea
Brewed from scraps of re-constructed past
Steeped in self-pity, savoring the taste
Of stagnant pain, and swirl the bitter leaves.
They read the posthumous reviews of their own tales,
Of all the ways things could have turned out well
If the other guy had only heard the call
To repent.

Outside the city walls the farmland
Groans. Ignorant farmers work the earth
Producing grain, and grapes, and olive oil
For shipment to the City, there to furnish
Bread for the masses, and wine to cheer their hearts,
The necessary but insufficient cause
Of life. The workers live their lives
Such as they are, with a minimum of fuss
Taking in stride the semi-occasional raid
Upon the farms, by scaly, stupid beasts,
Monsters from the ancient outer wilds.
These things do happen.
While in the cosmopolitan,
Refined and cultured burg, the very name
“Barbarian,” or rumor of beasts, is enough to send
The citizens into orgies of delicious panic.

Meanwhile, the ground beneath our feet shakes,
Rumbling with inexorable, oncoming
Redemption like a hurricane beneath the earth.

This week has been a quiet week. Not much has happened. But Evie finds a way to make it look good.Family Friday 47 (4)

As far as she is concerned, just going outside to run around is an adventure.

Why can’t we all be like that?

She is happy just to get a plate full of chicken and veggies and couscous all to herself.Family Friday 47 (1)

While Daddy and Mommy get stressed over little things like money and time and lots and lots of projects that need to be done yesterday, Evie is busy just being alive. She knows it’s all good. Mommy and Daddy take care of everything, so why should she worry?Family Friday 47 (5)

Evie likes to turn the pages. Sometimes Mommy can’t keep up with Evie’s page turning, but that’s okay. Evie is patient. Family Friday 47 (7)

Little does she know, Mommy and Daddy don’t actually have anything under control. We’re both like, “Oh well, I guess we’re winging it… again.”

But it’s all good because we have a Daddy too, and He actually does have everything under control. He sent His Son to take care of everything, and all we have to do is let Him.Family Friday 47 (3)

His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. He is the Heart of our Family.

Family Friday 47 (2)

Those pictures were from Adoration on Divine Mercy Sunday, which was last sunday. It is one of the most beautiful feasts of the year, one that is absolutely critical for our world.

In other news, Evie learned how to make banana bread with Auntie Grace this week.Family Friday 47 (6)

But she doesn’t like to eat it very much. She would rather eat couscous and berries and peas and carrots. Nothing wrong with that!

Uncle Matthew was on vacation for a while, so he and Ryan couldn’t hang out. Besides, Ryan was very busy. Then when Uncle Mattlew came back he went straight to the field for a few days. However, they were able to hang out Thursday night one more time before Ryan heads back home. They ate at a quirky little pizza place called the Mellow Mushroom.

Yes, it is as psychedelic as it sounds, but the pizza is delicious.

As one would hope when the munchies strike…

(Couldn’t resist.)

At any rate, the pizza is so good that they have to have a terminator outside to guard the front door. Family Friday 47 (8)

And they even bought a metal statue to keep him company!

Family Friday 47 (9)

Pow! Right on the button! He may look scary, but he has a glass jaw.

Well folks, hope y’all are doing well. Have a good week, stay classy.

God Bless, from the Kraegers.

Due to my busy schedule these days, I have less time for reading than I would like. As a result, much of my literary intake is coming in the form of audiobooks, which I listen to while I am driving. My latest audiobook listen was “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” by Laura Hillenbrand. You may have heard of the story from the recent motion picture, which came out in the U. S. in December 2014, incidentally, just a few months after the real man whom the story is about died, in July of 2014 at the age of 97.

The story chronicles the war time experiences of Louis Zampirini, a B-24 bombardier who crashed in the middle of the Pacific Ocean during a search mission. Beginning with Louis’ troubled, delinquent childhood, and following him through his running days and his moment of glory at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Hillenbrand deftly paints the character of a willful, defiant but ultimately good-natured young man, with unknown reserves of fortitude and resolve which had yet to be tapped into.

With the onset of WWII Louis joined the Army Air Corps, and trained as a bombardier, in which role he served with distinction until his plane went down during a search mission. After miraculously escaping form the wreckage of the mangled aircraft, Louis and his friend, the pilot Phil, along with the tail gunner Mac, pulled themselves onto a raft. In the 45 days that they spent on the raft, Mac died, while Louis and Phil drifted into Japanese occupied territory where they were eventually captured. They would spend the remainder of the war in Japanese prison camps, subject to the most inhumane and nearly lethal torture, subjugation and degradation.

I was surprised when the end of the war and Louis’ release from the POW camps occurred with two hours of narrative remaining on the recording. From what I had seen of the movie (previews only, I didn’t watch the whole thing) I thought the story was about his wartime experience, and expected it to end with his rescue.

I was wrong. The real story was just beginning.

It is not too much of a stretch to say that everything prior to his release was simply a prologue, the necessary foundation for the real story of Louis Zampirini. While his POW experience was the focus of the movie, it was the repercussions of that experience that truly made the man.

After returning to the States, Louis’s life was a struggle. PTSD coupled with the stress of fame and being forced to relive his experiences over and over again on speaking tours, led to alcoholism, a hasty marriage, financial troubles, marital troubles, and a rapid downward spiral of resentment, anger and bitterness. What follows is a truly amazing example of God’s grace, powerfully, undeniably at work. This is so powerful that it remains inescapably evident despite the author’s carefully agnostic approach.

Throughout the book, Hillenbrand writes with a remarkable combination of sardonically restrained narrative, bald, harsh exposition of the cruelty of the POW camps in the Pacific theater, poetically beautiful descriptions and exhaustive and meticulous research. Well worth anyone’s time to read, this is one of my favorite biographies to date.

At the age of 82 Louis Zampirin ran the Olympic Torch past one of the former POW camps that he had stayed in. At the age of 82 Louis Zampirin ran the Olympic Torch past one of the former POW camps that he had stayed in.

There are some questions in this world that are just hard to answer, especially in 1200 words or less (as a general rule I try to keep my blogs under 1200 words).

(Also, as a general rule, I usually fail).

One of those questions is, “Why do you remain a Catholic?” Building off some responses to a recent Pew study that purports to demonstrate that Catholics are leaving the Church in droves, Elizabeth Scalia over at Patheos (aka, The Anchoress) has challenged Catholics on the Internet to answer that question in whatever form is available to them, whether a blog, a tweet, a facebook post, or what have you. I am not overly troubled by this study or that study. If I have learned one thing from studying statistics in college it is that when you reduce human realities to numbers, you no longer reflect the important parts of that reality. Also, I want to ask the writer of the article to define “droves.”

Also, it doesn’t really matter, in one sense, whether everyone else leaves the Church or not. Of course it matters very much to them and to their salvation, and since I am my brother’s keeper it matters very much to me. But it does not matter in the sense that it does not change my responsibility. I will still remain with the Church as long as God gives me the grace to do so. In the words of Joshua, “As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” Screw what everybody else is doing. They will come round eventually.

Why? Why remain Catholic when everyone else is leaving or just going through the motions? (Not that everyone else is leaving or going through the motions, but hypothetically?) Because…

Everything! That’s like asking “Why do you love your wife?” It is unanswerable, both because there are (or ought to be) too many answers, and also because all of those answers remain somehow inadequate.

“Have you tiddled your last wink, Cyril?”

If someone can say, “I love her because of A, B, & C,” I would suspect that what they really love is not the woman, that human being, that indefinable and yet definite, that unutterably unique utterance of the Holy Trinity. What they really love is A, B, & C. “I love her because she cooks like Emeril, she has great conversational skills, and she likes playing tiddly-winks with me.” Yes, but what if gets cancer and she stops cooking, talking and tiddling? Will you still love her?”

The Church is not an institution, the Church is a person. The Church is the mystical body of Christ, and as such she must be loved as a person. That is, I do not love simply this or that thing about her, (although there are innumerable things that I love about the Church), but I love Her, insofar as it is given my poor powers to apprehend who she is.

If I had to distill all of that down to a single Image it would be this:

But again, this is not a picture of a “what” but a “Who.” When I kneel before the Blessed Sacrament I do so with the absolute conviction that that piece of white stuff that looks like bread is in Holy and Merciful Reality, Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, fully contained in Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. That is my conviction, and it is based not on my intellect, on my arguments, on my research or on my feelings or anything else. All of those things support that conviction, but they are not that conviction, because all those things are of me, and therefore changeable and fickle.

No, this conviction is the first example I have ever known in my life of Faith, the supernatural gift of knowledge of the truths of our Religion. The knowledge that the Host is God is given to me by God. I worship because I believe, but it is also true to say that I believe because I worshiped.

An agnostic I know once asked me if I heard God speaking to me when I prayed in front of the tabernacle. When he tried to pray (he was raised Catholic) he heard nothing, and he wanted to know what I heard. I had to tell him that I also hear nothing when I pray. I try to listen but silence is mostly what I hear. However, I trust that He is speaking, at a level too deep for my ears, and I find that after trying to listen for a very long time, years, decades even, I am changed. Something has happened in that time and I am different. The change looks a lot like what I would expect to see if I had heard, and so I keep listening.

Outside the Church there is no Eucharist. Therefore I shall not leave. End of story.

“Which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him?” Matthew 7:9-11.

In thinking over my post yesterday I realized that a person’s parenting style can provide a lot of insight into their values. Put briefly, every parent loves their children (ignoring for the sake of this post the outliers who do not love their children). They love their children so they want to give them the best things they can give them. So you can tell what you value most by taking a look at what you automatically try to give your children.

On the surface this seems pretty obvious. Someone who values financial security will try to make sure that his children are financially secure. Someone who values relaxing and good food will give their children plenty of time to relax and will cook or buy good food for them. Someone who values educational achievement will push his kids to do well in school.

This is what love does. When you love someone you want to give them the best that you have. The very fact that you want to give your kids (a good foundation, all the finer things in life, plenty of opportunities, vegan granola, or what-have-you) indicates that you do in fact love them, which can be a comforting thing.

As I see it, the trouble comes in when people disagree about:

  1. What is most valuable
  2. How best to share it

I know a man, a very wise and good man, who is a very profound introvert. His oldest daughter is a very decided extrovert. As much as they love each other and have a great relationship there has always been a certain amount of tension there. He values time away for recollection, reflection and recharging. She goes crazy if she is by herself for too long, away from people and places and happenings. However, the fact that they know this about each other helps to reduce the friction. Each can acknowledge that what the other values is good, it is “just not for me.”

Thou shalt be sweet, kind, loving and gentle or I shall smite thee with ye olde birchen rod.
Thou shalt be sweet, kind, loving and gentle or I shall smite thee with ye olde birchen rod.

I think where the most trouble comes in is when we don’t know or can’t agree on how to share what we value. There is, of course, the old fashioned method. The parent says “This is how it is.” The child says, “Yes Sir/Ma’am.” The end. Rebellion is met with punishment, dissension is not tolerated, and even questions asked for clarification are seen as challenges and dealt with accordingly.

On the opposite end of the spectrum you have the parents who refuse to inculcate any religious values or doctrines whatsoever because they don’t want to “brainwash” their kids. “They’ll find their own values when they are ready. We aren’t going to impose our values on them.” Well, that is hogwash. They definitely are imposing a value, the value that is most important to them, the value of relativism. “That’s fine for you, this is fine fore me, I won’t tell you what to believe so you had better not tell me what to believe.”

There is an art to sharing our passions and beliefs, and it is not the same from one relationship to another. A way of talking that would be appropriate for a father-son relationship would be totally out of place in talking to a stranger, or to a peer. This is why there can be no method of evangelizing, but only a principle of love that desires to share the best things in the best way, for the sake of the other. This principle has to adapt itself to the situation and the relationship of it will foil its own best attempts.

Dude, I don't believe in, like, imposing my values, man. And my kids aren't going to impose their values either!
Dude, I don’t believe in, like, imposing my values, man. And my kids aren’t going to impose their values either!

On a deeper level, what we pass on to our kids says a lot more about our real values than our words. I may say that my faith is important to me (notice the subtle caveat hidden behind the two words “to me”) but if I do not teach it to my kids, how important is it, really? If all of my time and energy is spent on other things, then is the faith really the most important thing in my life? And it doesn’t matter what those other things are. They can be values that society sees as good and useful and productive, like industry, economic stability, volunteering or tax paying. Or they can be values that society generally considers frivolous and time wasting, like video games, LARPing or smoking marijuana. It doesn’t matter. Whatever takes up the majority of our time and energy to pass on to our kids, that is what is most important to us, regardless of what we may say to the contrary.

This is not to critique anyone’s parenting, which is why I am speaking in such broad generalities. In fact, most of what I said need not apply specifically to parenting at all. The general principles are the same in any relationship:

  1. When you love someone you will want to share the greatest good you have with them
  2. What you actually spend the majority of your time and energy sharing tells you what is really the most important thing to you.