Thursday, March 31, 2011

January 2011!

January of 2011 was marked by a family trip in the motorhome to the frozen tundra of the University of Michigan to watch our daughter Laura become Dr. Laura!  She successfully defended her dissertation on her first attempt and we had a wonderful celebration with her faculty and friends! 

The month ended with a retreat offered for our fraternity in Chattanooga Tennessee.  We were created thereby two people who separately told us that our retreat for them a year ago had helped them make nearly miraculous changes in their life and attitude.  What was compelling to me about their comments was that their circumstances had not really changed at all, but their lives had!  They felt that they had developed a much better spiritual perspective on their current state, and that we had helped.  This is wonderfully affirming because it is certainly at the heart of the service we want to provide.

December 2010!

December‘s first weekend brought a wonderful ministry to our home. Michael john and Mary Poirier we're giving a couple of retreats in at the Atlanta area; they have had a full Time Motor home ministry for over a decade while raising three children! (they are now off the road). I had contacted them when we first began, and although our ministries are different in many ways, we are able to share a great deal that we have in common. Praying with and learning from their music and message was a highlight of 2010. I have told Michael John he has inspired my music in a brand new way and I owe him a very large cup of coffee! Check the family out at   

The following weekend we returned to Blairsville Georgia to provide a retreat for secular Franciscan leadership. This included some time on developing leadership when serving volunteers. Since this topic was at the core of jerry's corporate career, Jerry had designed a couple of specialized presentations/interactions on the different skill sets and styles of leadership.

Although time had to be spent in Florida getting the estate in order, Nika and her family came from Spain and spent another month with us---and were soon joined by all the rest of the family. We had felt for a long time that this may be our last Christmas season in this home as we get it ready to sell.

November 2010!

November began with a wonderful experience of a women's retreat at the gorgeous John XXIII conference center in West Virginia.  Cricket's teaching was accompanied by a prayer concert from Jerry, and we were so blessed to be invited to return for the men's retreat next spring.  Later in the month, we returned to Maggie Valley North Carolina to provide a Franciscan retreat on inner healing entitled “healing the Franciscan within you”.   Thanksgiving is always among our favorite holidays because it is the time the family begins to reassemble in our home for advent and Christmas. 

October 2010!

October began with Cricket and Jerry doing some music and teaching at a Franciscan parish to celebrate the Transitus of St Francis of Assisi. Jerry wrote a song for this occasion that one Friar insisted be on the next cd! But October then became a time heavily involved with Cricket's extended family as her brother Dr. Buzz Stulac passed away after a relatively short fight with cancer. Buzz had spent many years caretaking Cricket’s parents in his home, prior to their passing a few years ago. Recently, he had been taking his 2 well trained St. Bernards to hospices, youth groups, and homes for ‘pet therapy’ for the infirm. His memorial service was held with as many dogs as people! The relative sadness of this event has meant that Cricket and Jerry have spent a lot of time helping with the needs that arise in this way.  

September 2010!

On our return trip from Canada, MN, and KC in September, we visited cricket's high school reunion in St. Louis, where of course, cricket was awarded the’ best preserved’ recognition (since she still looks like she's in high school).  She so enjoyed the Friday night celebration that we returned for Sunday afternoon after a side trip to a family reunion in Brown County, Indiana on Saturday.  Jerry returned to Indiana a week later for his high school reunion.  In grade school, Jerry had a band and the lead singer is now a professor of music at Marian university.  That singer is Dr. Jim Larner, and Jim and Jerry provided jazz music for the reunion on a wonderful Saturday evening in Indianapolis.  (Jerry performs as a jazz guitarist and vocalist frequently in the Atlanta area, especially  as a longtime member of the Sentimental Journey Orchestra, the From there Jerry traveled to Maryland to sing at a wedding and reception near Chesapeake Bay.

August 2010!

August 2010 was a particularly full month of ministry for us. We were invited to provide a retreat for the staff at Sacred Heart Church in South Georgia on the theme of stewardship of time in treasure. This staff had just completed a remarkable growth and construction campaign with heroic results. We were blessed to serve with music, teaching, and interactivity. Jerry still receives requests to speak at corporate retreats (which was part of his corporate background) , and he was blessed to provide an executive retreat on work life balance for a hospital in Southern Alabama. At this same time cricket was in Northern Alabama providing a retreat for the Bessemer fraternity that also focused on inner healing. [Ever since cricket was asked to develop a one day retreat on the inner healing, she has been requested to do it a dozen more times]

The following weekend began nearly a month of travel. Cricket’s book on intercession had traveled from friends to a small intercessory prayer group in Minnesota. The pastor also read the book and ordered 50 copies! Since we were heading for Canada, we offered to provide a retreat for that prayer group, and we were so blessed to do so! [Our connection with his parish was so blessed that we were invited to return to serve them with a parish mission in Lent 2011!]

Since we had a few days before we were to be in Calgary Canada for the UCMVA conference, we took a trip to Northern Minnesota to visit some of the places cricket went as a child, visiting her family’s roots. Among these was a visit a professional photographers’ studio where cricket’sgrandfather helped produce one of the most famous photographs and the world=Grace.

We spent the next two or three days driving across the northern U.S. and Southern Canada seeing very few people but a whole lot of beautiful prairie. Although I have never submitted music or video for the UCMVA (united catholic music and video awards), I have been blessed to be part of the musicians performing there several times. It was quite an honor to get to fellowship and perform with Tony Melendez, Tom Booth, Greg Walton, Dennis Agajanian, Denis Grady, and Bob Halligan/Ceili Rain! This recognition of Catholic artists is international and was broadcast all over the world via the Internet. Cricket gave a teaching on the spirit and prayer of the catholic artist. Jerry not only performed but was part of a guitar clinic. We were all so blessed to give five prayer concerts while we were there.

July 2010!

July 2010 we were blessed to return to the annual regional gathering of the secular Franciscans in North Carolina.  Cricket presented to a breakout session on the Four Allegories of Saint Francis.  This is always a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with great friends and supporters, among whom are people who offer their driveway for our parking our little motor home! Because Cricket’s high sensitivity to wifi and cell tower electronics mean we are unable to stay in hotels, we are housed in a nearby campground where we get to witness on our ministry.