Friday, August 17, 2012


In college I had a very close friend named Eileen. She now has two little boys roughly the ages of my two girls, and just a few months ago she had a beautiful baby girl and named her Quinn.

Quinn started showing all the same symptoms Joseph showed at a few weeks old. The doctors were investigating to see if the diagnosis of Alagille Syndrome was appropriate for Quinn.

This morning Eileen wrote to tell me that Alagille Syndrome has been ruled out - Quinn has been diagnosed with a very rare disorder that causes blindness, deafness, retardation and then death by age 2. There are no treatments.

Everyone has prayed so much for Joseph and he has escaped nearly every upsetting prediction the doctors have laid out for him. Please pray for little Quinn, for Eileen and her husband, and for Quinn's two brothers. Pray that she may see miracles from our good God as Joseph has, and pray for every needed grace for this family.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

details (and a mini-tantrum)

The Sealy household is a flurry of activity again! Rich is preparing to start teaching high school theology in Illinois. We're acquiring his professional wardrobe, and packing, packing, packing. I think I could practically be a professional packer by now. Our house goes up for sale on Monday and there have been some logistical boxes to tick (but more than that, I've been grappling with the emotional side of letting go). However, the Lord has blessed us in so many ways this past week, that I am in a season of feeling nearly overwhelmed by two truths: that we exist for the praise of His glory and that He has done all things well.

invincible cuteness

After six months of frustrating and stressful "job searching" we felt no closer to finding a position that suited Rich's interests and gifts than we had at the beginning. Then two jobs that Rich had not applied for (or even known existed) dropped out of the clear blue Provident sky right into his humbled, grateful lap. A good friend who had been Rich's best man at our wedding called to say that a teaching position had opened at his school - the only catch was that school started ten days from the date of the call and the school is about an eight hour drive from our current home.

(click on map to enlarge)

We had to make a decision quickly, without seeing the town to which we'd move or the environment in which Rich would work. Kind of like our discernment about New Zealand....(only I think Fr Michael had given us fourteen days to decide, not ten - and Rich had seen Lord of the Rings like a zillion times). Rich and I have been to Illinois once. For about 48 hours. That said, we both loved it. I'm 110% pro-Midwest. It snows there, you know.

bernadette celebrated her 3rd birthday on July 29
(her first ever birthday on american soil!)

Speaking of Fr Michael, for two years he never stopped telling Rich that he should teach after our mission years. It turns out that guy really knew what he was talking about!

Then just tonight Rich accepted an (unexpected) invitation to do part-time, home-based research for some additional income. As the father of a growing family, he was very grateful for this opportunity. (We buy so much milk every week that I wonder if it would be more economical to purchase a cow). We are stunned and astonished by the Lord's Providence and determined more than ever to radically abandon ourselves to trusting Him in all things

I think the requested "purple kitty cat cake" came out as my best cake yet!

So at present, life is very busy, but very good. Rich is praying that the house sells by Tuesday - or Wednesday, at the latest. I might need a few more days to accept that this house - which is like a member of the family to me - is going to belong to someone else. YUCK! I'm trying to be graceful and feel happy that such a sweet, cheerful little house is going to bless another family, but all I really feel is NO fair! It's mine! Mine, mine, mine, MIIIIINE!!!!

Pray for me. Fervently. I clearly need to grow up.

MY happy little living room

MY bedroom, in which FOUR of my children have destroyed many nights' sleep
(even the little twerp in the womb is perfecting this art already)

There are lots of transitions and adjustments and new challenges in the weeks ahead, but it's an exciting and blessed time for us. Busy as anything, a little overwhelming - but blessed - almost in a surreal way. If the fruit of an authentic blessing is increased humility, it's been a very humbling week! Praise the Lord.

true, there may be someone else out there worthy 
of enjoying quiet evenings on MY - I mean, this - porch. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Thank you to all for prayers! The sought-after clarity and definite answer came fast and furious as a result of all that praying. I will post the details very soon. In the meantime, the house is going on the market this week and the family is in Transition Mode. We are hoping for the speedy sale of our house in Pennsylvania, a blessed house-hunting experience as we seek a new home, and for peace during these upcoming months, especially for Maria and Bernadette (who have already coped with so much change, and still have so much more to come). Can't wait to share the bigger picture!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

it never rains but it pours

It's been a little while. Mostly things have been "the same" - which, though deliciously tranquil, does not offer much material for the sake of blogging. But then, this week happened.....  Now, if all was left up to me, I would probably have waited until next week to have written about this week, but Rich expressly commanded me to write about this week TONIGHT because he feels incredibly in need of prayer. So, here goes!

Since I last wrote, Rich has been working as a summer handyman up at our parish. It's been a great job and a true gift of Divine Providence. He can walk to work, attend daily Mass, come home for lunch, and the job is so flexible that he can take hours off to do a Skype interview (or days off to fly to an out-of-state interview) and make up the lost time later. Given our circumstances, this flexibility has been an incredible blessing, as one might imagine.

Unfortunately, all this flexibility was not bearing fruit in the form of that desirable little perk called "a permanent career". At least not in the speedy fashion that we were wishing for. Rich feels pressure as the provider to be settled in a new job and I feel pressure as the ticking baby time bomb to be settled in a new home. I say all this - but these past two months have been a time of blessing and richness. Our basic needs have been provided for: Rich's handyman wages have covered our mortgage, two unexpected gifts from friends have covered our groceries for the entire interlude and Joseph was granted government health coverage after being denied private coverage because of his pre-existing conditions. Give us this day our daily bread - shelter, food, medicine - and He has. What else do we truly need? We have lacked nothing necessary. To the contrary, we have been blessed with a full cup, running over.  The Lord is good. 

I've spent the month learning the meaning of the words, "Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil." The Lord has been at work increasing my capacity to be at peace, through trust and simplicity, though the future is veiled and uncertain. I've spent a lot of time in prayer reflecting on how well and truly different are the Lord's ways from man's. See, if I was the Lord - and I called a young family to risk all their security and move across the globe as missionaries - I would want to give them an amazing job as soon as their mission ended just to show all the doubters and naysayers a thing or two! I would want to prove myself to all those who scoffed and discouraged. So, this month I've learned quite a bit about my pride and the Lord's humility.

But more than that, I've also had ample opportunity to consider what is truly good. It is good to have a job. It is good to have stability and security. It is good to be able to pay bills confidently.  But - it is better to be a vulnerable child ever more aware of her dependence on the Father. It is better to grow in absolute trust of Him. It is better to be humbled before Him and before the eyes of men. It is better to grow in gratitude and to let go of the need to be independent of others.  It is better to grow in love and amazement of Him as He tenderly cares for me - undeserving me. He always gives what is best - not just what is "good", but best. We have learned to trust that if He is not giving us a steady job, it is because He is giving us something that is ultimately better for us, in a very profound way.

After interviewing for many jobs which, for various reasons, were not a "good fit" for Rich or for our family, just this week Richard interviewed for a job - and it was unexpectedly fantastic. It is a job for which he had applied without even being very clear about some of the specifics, but he exited the interview full of hope and excitement. It is very very far from where we now live (though, of course, not quite as far as New Zealand) and the distance gave both of us the same fluttery nervous-excited feelings we had about New Zealand before we arrived there. Just like with New Zealand, we've heard many wonderful things about the natural beauty and down-to-earth people in this place. In fact, the job seemed perfect for Rich in every way. So we hunkered down to wait in hope and prayer for a definite offer from this amazing job.

And then, of course, jobs just started popping up all over the place. A former employer of Rich's contacted him in reference to the job search. Danielle, the missionary who preceded us in New Zealand, called to tell us about an intriguing missionary-style job just two hours from our home. [It would entail moving back into a presbytry (rectory) and I'm not sure I am quite ready for that again - but it did intrigue us both nevertheless.] And then today....a wonderful friend called and flat-out offered Rich a fantastic job - a job that is in the field to which he has long felt drawn - a job "only" eight hours away that starts in ten days. And we are utterly baffled. We have perhaps three days to decide.

The two jobs are vastly different in terms of location, ease of visiting the grandparents, salary, Catholic community, type of ministry, etc... There are many factors that have to be considered and they must be considered very, very quickly. Our emotions are all jumbled up - excitement, relief, stress, nervousness, fear, joy, gratitude, uncertainty, thanksgiving - which makes it even harder to discern clearly and prudently in a short space of time. So Rich asked me to write tonight and ask for prayer - the readers of this blog have interceded for us so many times over the course of our mission. We have felt and seen the power of those prayers repeatedly. The youth of New Zealand saw the fruit of those prayers with their very eyes and had their own faith bolstered - because of which, I believe that you who interceded for us were actually an active partner in our missionary efforts, witnessing to and impacting those young people and showing them how real and near the Lord is - and how faithfully He answers fervent prayer. I'm amazed to think that now those young people are part of this great team of intercessors as well! We feel confident that in this last great hurdle of our mission, the prayers of all those who have invested in our mission will again please the Lord and release much-needed graces upon us.

Once all is settled for certain, I will happily post more specific details. (If it takes more than a few days, be assured it is prudence, not laziness!) Until then, Rich and I say thank you once again (in advance this time) for your prayers. Our own faith in the power of prayer has grown so strong through the intercession that has been offered on our behalf by our blog readers over these last few years. What a gift you have given us!