Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Cat with Nine Lives


Pepper’s Funeral

Several years ago I decided to make a trip to the country to visit my friend Mary. Her kids and mine were going to have a play date while Mary and I spent the day visiting and enjoying each other’s company. Soon after we arrived, Mary went to check on her cat Pepper who had gone out earlier in the day and never returned. It was not at all like her cat to wander away for a half day without food or water breaks. We decided to get in the car and drive around the country side looking for Pepper.

Up one lane and down another we drove for over an hour when suddenly we spotted Pepper lying in the road. It was obvious the cat had died from the impact of being hit by a car. Luckily the cat wasn’t obviously bloody; it had just died from the accident we surmised.  The kids were beside themselves with grief.

 As we tried to comfort them I suggested we gather up the dead cat and have a proper burial for it. It was going to be one of those teachable moments when the children would learn to grieve and yet celebrate life. In this case the life of Pepper the cat and the joy she had brought to them throughout the years.

We got the kids involved in finding a proper casket…in this case a box that Mary had on hand. We gave them crayons and markers to make the box look pretty and found some old material to line it with. Then we had them make out invitations to deliver to the neighborhood children for the funeral and luncheon we would have the next day. It kept the kids busy and made them feel a little better about Pepper’s demise.

Mary’s husband Dave went into the back yard when he got home and dug a proper hole for the funeral and burial of Pepper. The rest of us dispersed to the neighbors to tell them Pepper had died and invite them to the funeral and luncheon with their children.

The next day I and my children again made the trip to Mary’s house for Peppers funeral. Several neighbors had come and so we all solemnly processed out to the backyard with the kids acting as pall bearers. Dave gave a wonderful eulogy about the life and times of Pepper and all she had meant to them as a family. Each of the children placed a flower on the grave and then we went into the house to have a nice funeral luncheon which the children had prepared. Ok. so it was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but we all ate and acted like it was a feast in honor of Pepper the cat.

By the time we had finished our luncheon I decided it was time for me and my brood to gather up our belongings and head home again. Offering my condolences for the final time I opened the door to leave and almost tripped over a cat that came racing into the house and jumped right into Peppers bed. Miracles of miracles Pepper was not dead. But we never did find out whose cat we had buried.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Venerable Don Carlo Gnocchi




I finally broke down and bought a new DVD player. The time had come to retire my old worn out VCR. The problem was I had no DVD’s to play on it, which of course lead to buying some movies. K-Mart of course doesn't carry much except the usual Hollywood garbage of which I bought 4. Two of them were absolutely awful and I shut them off after just a few scenes. UGH! The garbage they call movies these days is unbelievable.

Anyway. Yesterday I went to the local Catholic bookstore and purchased some Catholic ones. I was lamenting that many seemed produced in Europe and I would have to read subtitles which I hate, but it had to be better than the garbage they put out for entertainment here.

The first one was in English and was fantastic even though I had already watched it on EWTN. The next one I watched today, sub-titles of course and I am absolutely astounded by the life of Venerable Don Carlo Gnocchi (pro-nounced - No-Chi) I was so interested that I googled some more about him and to my delight, I discovered he has been beatified.

I highly recommend this film. What wonderful servants of God we have in Heaven.

He founded "The Don Carlo Gnocchi Foundazione" for disabled children which is well-respected and continues to thrive in Italy today. It has expanded its care to elderly people who are unable take care of themselves and for terminal cancer patients. On January 17th, 2009 a miracle attributed to Venerable Don Carlo Gnocchi was promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI and he was  beatified on October 25th, 2009.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Book Publishers and Magazines I write For

 These are my favorite ones and I highly recommend their books and magazines. Of course I am a bit prejudiced as they publish my stories, but keep in mind, they also publish other outstanding writers works too. I always look forward to reading the stories others write and I am never disappointed with the great stories these publishers choose.

You can order direct from them, or most Christian Book stores, Amazon.com, and Barnes and Noble carry them or can order them for you.
Canticle Magazine, the “voice” of Women of Grace®. Dedicated to helping all Catholic women to live out their vocation more joyfully and faithfully – wives and mothers, single women, and religious from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds.Canticle Magazine is a bimonthly magazine. It is part of "Living His Life Abundantly - EWTN "
Amazing Grace Series is an anthology of Inspiring Stories from Ascension Press. Matt Pinto, Jeff Cavin and Patty Armstrong are the Editors and publishers of this fine series of Books. Each one contains short stories of everyday people who God has touched with His miracles of Love.

"When Miracles Happen " Hardcover Books, are a Series of Anthologies from Guidepost Books. Always good,, clean faith filled stories you can count on to uplift your spirits and enrich your faith.

God Allows U-Turns, is another anthology series of books by Allison Bottke . They publish books to encourage life-changing U-Turn choices through books for adults, children and youth .

Last but not least, The Chicken Soup for the Soul books which everyone knows and loves. They always produce great up-lifting stories which inspire people of all faiths to reach higher and hope even when hope seems out of reach.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Telemarketers and writing a Murder Mystery


It has been One of those Days...actually, make that Nights!

Ever been sound asleep after hours of tossing and turning, just to be rudely awakened by a telemarketers call? Well let me tell you, as a writer I tend to stay up late writing. Many days, the night turns into daylight before I actually go to bed. It’s one of the perks of being a writer. I can keep my own hours…at least in theory.

Last night was one of those nights I actually went to bed at mid-night. That is the good news. Bad news, my post-polio kept me awake until 4:00 am. Finally, I managed to get comfortable enough to drift into a blessed sleep. AH! Dream land…truly a gift after hours of tossing and turning in pain. At 9:15 am the shrill ringing of the telephone woke me up. Since I was half asleep, and still writing a novel in my sleep…the conversation went something like this.

Hello Mrs. Trollinger. This is Dish Network calling with a wonderful upgrade offer for your TV programming.

Helllllooo! Cough! Who did you say is calling?

OH! I’m sorry, did I wake you?

Well actually no. I was in the middle of writing my new "Murder Mystery," and I was plotting out how the villain could reach through a phone line and choke the life out of a Telemarketer. I was just in the middle of writing about the trial of said Villain/Hero. I was trying to work out how the Villain would get off Scott free by using the old “THEY DROVE ME TO INSANITY DEFENSE.”

You have been a big help to me. I think I will rewrite the first chapter.

How does this sound. He builds a robot phone that doesn’t kill any telemarketers instantly. It just ties them up and tortures them for months in a room full of ringing telephones 24/7 and never lets them sleep.Finally they expire of sheer exhaustion. Do you think it would sell?

Hello! Hello! HMMM>>> I guess they hung up. OH! Well, I think I will take a nap. I am sure to come up with another twist if I just sleep on it.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My New Little Friend

Went to the grocery store and saw a cute little boy riding in the cart. He stuck out his pudgy hand to shake so I shook his hand. His Mom almost cried. You see he has Downs syndrome and she said everyone else ignored him. He just loves to shake hands. Well I started telling everyone I saw Up and down the aisles about him and got 10 or so people to find him and shake his hand. When I left he was surrounded by people shaking his hand. LOL! Such a sweet little guy.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Story of a man named Daniel

Today I had Hospital Ministry and saw several lovely patients. I had one man refuse to receive but everyone else wanted Jesus. It set me reminiscing about a day many years ago when I almost gave up hospital ministry because people seldom wanted the Eucharist which made me feel as though I was wasting my time. This is the story I wrote that day. It was published in 2007 Guidepost Books titled "Miracles of Love". The story always makes me smile and reminds me that God uses us in small ways and we are Blessed to serve Him.


 

Hospital ministry can be such a blessing, but it can also cause a person to lose their focus on Christ if we allow it to. On one particular hectic Saturday a couple of years ago, I found myself seriously doubting the usefulness of such a ministry. The morning began with my running behind schedule, as I was really not feeling much up to doing it in the first place. To top it off, I was late getting to the hospital due to accidentally setting the alarm off at church when I unlocked the door. It was my turn as Team Leader to pick up the Eucharist from the church for our team members in the hospital ministry that week. In my hurried frustration, I could not remember the code.

After several tries, I began to worry about how I would ever get to the hospital on time. For the life of me I could not get the alarm to accept my code and the incessant ringing of the burglar alarm was really starting to make me break out in a sweat.
Struggling to find my code in my purse, I finally located it and discovered I had transposed the numbers. “Drat!” I wondered to myself. “Will I ever learn this new fangled contraption?” Arriving out of breath and full of apologies to the others members of the ministry team, we quickly set to work. After checking the patient logs the receptionist handed us, we split up the hosts and began our appointed rounds.

While riding the elevator to the first floor of patients, I thought to myself: “I can serve Jesus today and take Him to those who need Him so very much.” I was trying very hard to talk myself into being cheerful and enthusiastic. That thought started working as I came to the first floor, but by the 11th floor my spirit was beginning to lag once again. Feeling very dejected, I began to wonder why we even bothered giving up our time on Saturdays to do Hospital Ministry. That Saturday was much like the last few we had experienced. We volunteer our time to bring the Eucharist to the hospitalized and most of the patients are totally disinterested. The usual response was: “No, thanks! I don’t care to receive.”  Some of the patients would even tell you out right they were not happy to be bothered with a visit. That Saturday morning it began to look as if I would have to return most of the hosts to the church again.

As I checked in at the nursing station on the eleventh floor, I was beginning to get the definite feeling that I needed to step back from hospital ministry for a time. It had gotten to be very disheartening to have so many people not interested in receiving. They all seemed to be too busy wanting to see their doctor or involved in phone conversation that I began to feel like the unwanted guest at a wedding reception.

As the nurse handed me back the approved patients list, I found there are only three patients on this last floor to visit, and only two of them could receive the Eucharist. The third patient was marked for a prayer visit only. I had to brace myself mentally for more refusals as I walked toward the first room to meet with a patient named Martha. I was definitely not happy and not in a cheerful mood. I worked mightily to paste a smile on my face and appear cheerful even though I felt like just calling it a day and going home.

As I tapped on the door gently, I prepared to announce myself. But before I could utter a word, this very weak but beautiful voice said; “OH! Come in please! You have brought me my Jesus! I could see His light coming down the hall towards my room.” As I fully entered, I saw a lady who was eagerly anticipating her visit from the Divine Physician. This woman, I would learn later, had come to the hospital for the last time. Martha was in the final stages of her cancer battle, but Martha’s soul was at peace as she eagerly awaited Her Lord!

Standing in her presence, I felt humbled and quite sure that I was witnessing a little miracle. Martha needed no one to tell her Jesus was present. Her eye’s gazed at the Host with what I can only describe as sheer rapture. It was as if the veil of the Tabernacle opened and Christ stepped forth to hold His dying child in His arms himself. I myself, to say the least, was chagrined at my earlier grumpy thoughts of how useless our ministry was. I left Martha to make the next patient visit with a very contrite spirit and I was full of joy to have been able to bring Christ to one sweet soul that day.

In the moments before I approached the next room, I paused with tears coursing down my cheeks and contritely whispered to Jesus; “I am sorry for being so grumpy about giving my time to carry you to the sick. Martha has shown me Lord how much You care. I know that it is worth every minute of my time. I myself am a very poor instrument to bring you to the sick and suffering. Please forgive me Jesus!”

Checking with the next patient’s nurse, I found that this patient had a whole room full of visitors. Jim and his family members were very warm and welcoming, and they all wanted to receive Jesus! After leaving Jim and his family still deep in their prayers of thanksgiving for Christ in the Eucharist, I stopped outside the room of my last patient. Checking with his nurse I was a bit startled when she replied, “Daniel is probably not worth bothering with but go on in if you want to.” By this time I knew for certain that Christ wanted me to make the effort, even if it would be a waste of time. He had showed me how much He was appreciated by Martha and Jim’s family and I was determined not to disappoint Him again with my poor attitude.

I gently tapped on the door and announced myself to the motionless figure lying in the darkened hospital room. At the sound of my voice, Daniel turned over as best he could. In that instant, I found myself looking into the most beautiful blue eyes I believe I have ever seen. Eyes, which smiled with the brightness of all heaven, as if to say; “Welcome! How happy I am that you have come to visit me!” Eye’s, which mesmerized me with their beauty even though Daniel, poor creature, was covered with the most awful pustules, which had disfigured his face. I could hardly recognize his nose and his mouth was full of the most haphazard gapping teeth I believe I have ever seen. Daniel, it turned out was profoundly retarded as well as very physically misshapen. But in my heart of hearts, I knew that Daniel not only recognized Jesus... to me he became Jesus in this most distressing disguise.

As I prayed at Daniel’s bedside, I swear I could hear the angels singing; “Glory to God in the Highest and to all his creatures on earth!” Daniel, even though he was mute and physically and mentally challenged, renewed my spirit more than I can say. I came to bring Jesus to the sick and the suffering, but I found Jesus that day through the love for Christ in the Eucharist of a dying woman named  Martha. Jesus was there in midst of Jim’s family, and in the end, I found Jesus was Truly Present in the blue eyes of a man named Daniel.

Friday, October 11, 2013