" I implore you, my child; observe heaven and earth, consider all that is in them, and acknowledge that God made them out of nothing (ex nihilo), and that mankind comes into being in the same way..." 2 Maccabees 7:28

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Survival Kit

In cleaning out the apartment we found in the porch closet a box of apparently random items belonging to a former roommate of ours (who shall go unnamed). Upon questioning this person, we found out that the apparently random items were not so random after all- it was an earthquake survival kit. Here are the contents.
3 cans of tuna
2 cans of vegetables
1 can opener (very important)
1 exercise tank top with a puppy on it
clean skivvies
1 dental floss
saline solution for washing contact lenses
novena to St Therese.

Not bad things to have if you are in an earthquake and you happen to be trapped out on the apartment porch and can't open the sliding glass door to get back inside, wouldn't you say? And I guess anything that's missing you just ask St Therese for. So you're pretty much covered. But was she really going to put on clean underwear in full view of the whole apartment complex, also trapped out on their porches after the disaster?

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Monicas memorial was so deeply beautiful that I'm a bit emotionally overwhelmed. I never met Monica in person, so it was joyful to hear everyone talk about her so that I could add mannerisms and personality to the picture of her I had in my head. I was so thankful to have Lydia (Trisha's mom) with me there; she came so I wouldn't have to be alone (and Trisha told me later that she thought I'd be an emotional basket case and unfit to operate a car) which was such a blessing. Not just to have the support, but to have someone to share the experience with after. I'm tired and will post more details of the memorial later, but I wanted to leave you with some beautiful little details we learned about Monica.

1. Monica loves pizza and chocolate (no big surprise).
2. She hated her calves.
3. She was very competitive and almost always won.
4. WHen she would laugh really hard, sometimes she would slap her thigh.
5. She was a notorious back- seat driver.
6. In college, she had a group of 10 very close friends who called themselves The 10 Virgins (Ten V's).
7. Monica was a procrastinator, and in college often had to make trips to Kinko's in the wee hours of the morning in her pajamas.
8. She had done missions trips in the Ukraine working with orphans, and had always dreamed of going back. Even a month before she died, she was still making plans with her friends to return when their children were older. She had a deep heart for orphans and youth.
9. She set her sights on Sol and made it happen! (More on this in later posts).
10. Monica died the way she lived; trusting God.

Here is a poem By Ella WHeeler Wilcox; the italicized part was read at the memorial, but the whole thing is beautiful.

One Ship Sails East
But to every mind there openeth,
A way, and way, and away,
A high soul climbs the highway,
And the low soul gropes the low,
And in between on the misty flats,
The rest drift to and fro.

But to every man there openeth,
A high way and a low,
And every mind decideth,
The way his soul shall go.

One ship sails East,
And another West,
By the self-same winds that blow,
'Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales,
That tells the way we go.

Like the winds of the sea
Are the waves of time,
As we journey along through life,
'Tis the set of the soul,
That determines the goal,
And not the calm or the strife.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I'm planning on driving up to go to Monica's memorial. If anyone wants to write a letter to Sol and Kai, I would love to bring them for you (though you can just mail them yourself as well if you prefer, Sol put his address on their webpage, see the link on the side for Sol and Monica). You can email me a letter if you want at faith.gillis@gmail.com.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monica Update

Monica died today. Please keep her family in prayer.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monica Update

The latest chemo for Monica didn't work- the tumor in her liver has grown to 9 inches. She had an appointment with a sarcoma specialist soon, but her pain has been bad and she is now in the hospital to try to manage it. Her family has all been called in. Please pray for her as she prepares to go Home, and for her family in their grief.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Overdue Easter update

Well, I know the following information is not of interest to the general public (as well as being sorely overdue) but Ill add pictures to increase marketability.
I sought help from the true Poles in my life (my Aunt BIna, my ex- roomie Kasia) this year as I was responsible for putting together a true Polish Easter meal. It was inspired by discovering, within a few blocks of my house, an authentic Polish deli where they hand- made their own sausages- you can get things there that you can't get anywhere else. I even got some types of tea and pickles that came straight from POland and had Polish writing on the jar-( how cool is THAT??)
So I was inspired to put on a true Polish Easter meal, complete with eggs dyed with vegetables rather than food coloring and a sugar lamb for the centerpiece. (Actually, those two components of the meal were the first to get axed as I couldn't find a sugar lamb anywhere and who likes eating hard- boiled eggs anyway?)
So the final menu turned out to be mushroom soup, 2 kinds of pierogi, white lielbasa (which refers to it being unsmoked) cooked in beer and then browned in butter with onions, barbecued regular kielbasa, apple and leek salad, cucumber and dill salad, and 2 types of traditional desserts; mazurek and babka cake. Trinka really saved the meal from being a total artery- clogging experience by her addition of the salads. As much as I love the Polish, I can't really say that that Polish cuisine is top of the list as far as a healthy diet goes. Here's the pictures.

Dried wild mushrooms for the mushroom soup. $72 a lb (but that's a LOT of mushrooms)
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White sausage. I know- it doesn't look so appetizing in this form.

A plethora of pork products.

The only truly healthy offerings at the Polish Easter table- Trinka's salads.

Trinx also made both desserts. She by far took all the harder assignments in this meal.