thursday thirteen, things mama said

Back in the day when I blogged regularly, Thursday Thirteen was an awesome way to capture things that were cumbersome to write. During my recent time with Mama, just prior to her death, she said things that were cute, sweet, peculiar, and insightful. But most things were lacking lucidity. Because of her advanced Alzheimer's, she seldom made much sense. This Thursday 13 is composed of things Mama said near her end that touched me. She... Read more →


i can't see you

As you might imagine, my dear mom is on my mind lots. Having been a victim of COVID lockdowns in the nursing home, she would hardly let us out of her sight when we finally got to be with her in the hospice house. On the day I took this picture she didn’t want me to sit down because sitting down meant she couldn’t see me as well. I’m glad I stood. Read more →


deborah shares

My daughter, Deborah, shares more about the work of God in her life. She says, “I really, really hope that this speaks to someone. Someone who is hurting, and who feels irreparably damaged.” I am a privileged person. So privileged. Not because I’m white, not because I’m a woman, not because of anything that can be brought down to worldly things. I am privileged because I have God in my life. Please don’t stop reading,... Read more →


dear darian, meditation

Dear Darian,** When you are consistent in praying the rosary, you’ll experience a spiritual rhythm within the week. Tuesdays and Fridays will take on a more somber tone as they are the days we contemplate the Sorrowful Passion of our Lord. You may begin to look for ways to do penance. I’ve chosen stairs over the elevator, walked to the next bus stop, refrained from tempting snacks and things of that ilk because meditating on... Read more →


grateful

My poor mom was a victim of COVID. Although she had asymptomatic COVID at one time during the pandemic, that isn't what I'm talking about. She was a victim of the lockdowns. She was in a facility in Northwest Arkansas where she had enjoyed regular visitors. Mama was very social and all about family. With Alzheimer's, family visits were her best medicine. But when lockdowns were implemented, no one was allowed in to see her.... Read more →


affectionate love for jesus

I love worshipping the Lord in the mass. I’m so grateful that he’s put this great love in my heart. I remember well in 1995 telling him in prayer that I wasn’t sure I loved him. I knew I loved his comfort, his Word, his gifts, but I wasn’t sure I loved him. At the time, I wasn't sure what was missing, I just had a vague feeling there was something deeper, something more. I... Read more →


the eucharist

Recently I shared my conversion with a couple of protestant friends and they responded that they were happy for me and the joy the Catholic faith gives me. I appreciate the sentiment and their kindness, but it shows a tremendous lack of understanding of their Protestant and my Catholic theology. Our faiths, on a few levels, are incongruent. No Christian who understands their own faith should be happy when one of their own (Protestant or... Read more →


niece mindi eulogizes her mimi

My Mimi We used to gather at her home every Sunday after church, with all the cousins. She made a yellow cake (usually with chocolate frosting) and would let it cool as the adults sat in the living room with coffee and talked. I remember sneaking into the kitchen over and over to scoop up a finger full of melted frosting that would drip over the edge of the Tupperware container that it rested on.... Read more →


mama's obituary

Geral "Jeri" Dean Funderburk February 3, 1936 - September 5, 2020 Geral Dean "Jeri" Funderburk, age 84, of Mena, Arkansas, died Saturday, September 5, 2020, surrounded by family. She was born, February 3, 1936 to Philip Anderson and Elsie Lannie Keen Piearcy in Hugo, Oklahoma. Jeri was a committed Christian who modeled a love for the Word of God, a life of prayer, an ease of laughter and a great sense of humor to her... Read more →


i'll miss her dearly

My beautiful mom. I will miss her warmth, humour, and unconditional love. I believe in the “communion of the saints” and that we are surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses.” In that way, she’ll be closer to me than ever before. When Mama went into the nursing home, I was privileged to go through her most personal prayer journals and diaries. In those, she had written her deepest, darkest secrets. I was privy to... Read more →


stephanie eulogizes mimi

This is by my oldest child, Stephanie. Mimi. It has only been since becoming an adult that I’ve realized that my childhood wasn’t normal, that the role my grandmothers played in my life was extraordinary and few people have the privilege of having the experiences that are so precious to me. It was a normal weekly occurrence that all my mom's siblings and ALL my cousins would pack my Mimi’s house. After church on Sunday... Read more →


misty eulogizes her mimi

Mama left a legacy. My niece Misty wrote about some of it: When I was a little girl, I would often ask my mom why we believed what we believed and what different parts of the Bible meant. I was always amazed at how she would walk me through Greek and Hebrew roots and the historical context as she walked me through it all. One day I asked her how she knew all of that... Read more →


hannah's wisdom

Nothing is as satisfying at seeing your adult children growing in love for Jesus, their Catholic faith, and wisdom. Today I want to share what my daughter, Hannah, just shared on Facebook. She is well spoken, bright, and articulate, but it's the wisdom that makes me smile. She writes: This is my daughter, Flora She is our third child and is already an absolutely delight. Right now she is just over 7 weeks old (on... Read more →


dear darian, the rosary

Dear Darian,** Our imaginations are powerful and can be prayerful even if we aren’t engaging in prayer in a formal way. We may not say “Dear God” or “Hail Mary” but as we think of the mysteries of the rosary, we may be deep in prayer. If the rosary intimidates you in any way, know that you can begin simply by thinking about (meditating) on the mysteries. Allow your imagination to run wild. Be present... Read more →


happy birthday, hannah

Happy birthday to our Hannah Kathleen. She was a delightful-beyond-compare child, and thinking about her childhood floods my soul with sweetness. She was - and still is - articulate, compassionate, and a thoughtful, deep thinker. She had a noticeable piety, even as a child, knowing spiritual things mattered. That awareness seemed to go dormant for a number of years, but it returned with a studiousness that is rare. Even in her childhood, I used the... Read more →


pius-vasyl assumptio

My cup runneth over with goodness. Rachael and Kyle had their baby last night. Meet Pius-Vasyl Assumptio Wirachowsky. I don’t think he could have a more Catholic Ukrainian name had they tried. Pius is after Popes Pius the 10th and 12th, godly popes they admire. Vasyl is after a Ukrainian priest martyred for his faith. Assumptio is for Mother Mary as August contains the feast day of her assumption. Welcome to our world Lil’ Pius.... Read more →


dear darian, confession

Dear Darian,** When I was a Protestant, I didn’t loathe my sin like I do now. I thought it was impossible to be without sin. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s easy, but I will say the goal to be sinless is solidly in place. Now, there are short periods when, to the best of my knowledge, I have no unconfessed sin. (Jeremiah tells us our hearts are deceitful,[1] that’s why I... Read more →


charlie

This is Charlie. He’s my dog. Gordon is not the father figure Charlie needs. I asked Gordon yesterday what kind of dog we should get next time and he said, “ceramic.” Read more →


happy birthday, atlas

What a sweet evening celebrating this fine fellow's first birthday. I'm so thankful for Atlas and the things God has done in our lives, and especially in Deborah's life, through his life. God is so amazing, way beyond what we can think or imagine. Read more →


cookies

Cookies are baking. Holly and Ambrose are so sweet and polite. Good parenting shows. When Holly and Hannah wear an apron, Ambrose wants a bib on. I think it's his apron equivalent. Read more →


deborah shares some of her story

My Deborah writing about her journey. I'm so thankful. She writes: I’m coming up on two years clean and sober, and I just wanted to take a moment to glorify God and all that He has done in my life. He held out for me, and showed me the love that I had been searching for throughout those many years of my life. As many of you know, I struggled with drugs and mental illness... Read more →


dear darian, guardian angel

Dear Darian,** Did you know that guardian angels aren’t simply a thing of lore? They really exist and we all have one. Jesus said, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.”[1] Recently I was meditating on this and wondering what my angel is like. It would be so cool to have... Read more →


happy birthday, deborah

Happy birthday to our beautiful daughter, Deborah Elizabeth. She is 21 today. She was the sweetest child who gave us nothing but delight. Then adolescent years hit and she went off the rails so bad we didn’t know if she’d survive - and I’m speaking very literally. God be praised, He sent her little Atlas. We were so scared, afraid of how the drama would play out. God used Atlas so powerfully. She got clean... Read more →


dear darian, humility

Dear Darian,** As I meditate on the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary, I’m often struck by how each mystery has a strong current of humility. Everyone represented in the mysteries is humble. Mary, of course, is the humblest of souls. In her Magnificat she proclaims her low estate, her low degree, and her neediness. Elizabeth proclaims, “who am I that the mother of the Lord would visit me?”. Joseph accepts Mary even though he may... Read more →


easter morn

He is risen indeed. He is the great and glorious redeemer. He is the greatest joy and love in my life. He is not an imaginary friend. There are numerous historical proofs of his existence, that he was indeed crucified and rose from the dead. If I am wrong, what have I lost? If I am right and you view him as unimportant, you have lost the greatest blessing in this life and will gain... Read more →


no regrets

Thirty-five years ago today a little bundle just over 8 ½ pounds gushed into my world. My life was changed forever. I was only 19 and had spent nine long months hating my life. Pregnancy was the last thing I wanted, and I was convinced I’d ruined my life. In early pregnancy the thought of an abortion comforted; I imagined it a solution. I received a poem from someone – who knew nothing of my... Read more →


debs on abortion

My daughter Deborah has been through a lot. Here’s a piece of her story. I’m so incredibly thankful she chose life for our little Atlas and that she didn’t heed all the advice to get an abortion. Our lives will never be the same again; we adore Atlas. Written by my daughter, Deborah: You know, after years of being an abortion advocate (regrettably) I finally sat myself down, away from the crowd I was following,... Read more →


happy birthday, rachael

Today is Rachael Christine's 24th birthday. How she delights my soul!! When we learned we were expecting Rachael, I was not in a good emotional place. Getting pregnant seemed like the least logical thing in the world and it definitely was not something we would have chosen. God saw things differently. Shortly after learning I was pregnant, I read in Psalm 30, "You have turned my mourning into dancing." Rachael's life infused my sorrowing heart... Read more →


josefa on humility

Jesus told Sister Josefa, one of my saints, that when she had two options, to choose the humbler one. I'm trying to apply this wisdom more and more often. I’m trying to embrace humility in various ways. My sweet saint friends, Francis, Anthony, Rita, Faustina, and Josefa all modelled humility in powerful ways. Their writings and lives have taught me a lot about humility, but I am still so proud. Pride rises up all the... Read more →


atlas rigel

We have a precious new grandson. Buddy (Atlas Rigel) weighed 7.14. Deborah let me watch him gush into our world and then cut the cord. We’re all enchanted and Deborah is doing well. I am very in love. Read more →


dear darian, the agony in the garden

Dear Darian,** Today as I prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary, I thought of Jesus’ agony in the garden and how the fruit of that mystery is true contrition of sins. Did you know that each mystery of the rosary has a corresponding fruit? The fruit of meditating on the agony in the garden is true contrition for sin. We all need that, don’t we? Do you recall the wooded park on the corner... Read more →


yip yip

Please consider purchasing my new book. Preschool children are raving about it. Haha. I’d truly appreciate your buying a copy or two. In Canada: Yip Yip https://www.amazon.ca/.../ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_UUtdDbJTA1RK3 In the US: https://www.amazon.com/Yip-Valerie-Dykstra/dp/152554229X Read more →


gimpy

I love the finches, chickadees and sparrows that visit daily. My cat, Casanova, loves them too, but in a sinister way. Several weeks ago, Jessica, my friend that lives in the suite downstairs, brought me a freshly injured sparrow, Casanova's latest victim. I felt a powerful compunction to pray for him. I probably held him for 15 minutes. His leg was broken, he had a tooth puncture on his head, and one wing looked gnarly.... Read more →


mother's day, from deborah

Like my previous post about Hannah, I want to share what Deborah wrote on Facebook for Mother's Day. Not only does this record allow me to cherish it over and over, it also reminds me, yet again, to not stop praying even when all looks lost. Deborah appeared to be a borderline-lost cause for nearly 10 years. Might those prayers have been the very way God brought her back to us? What if we had... Read more →


mother's day, from hannah

God answers prayers, sometimes more beautifully than we imagined. For a number of years, Mother's Day was a sad day for me. I felt like I'd given my life to raising upstanding children and the effort seemed to have been futile. I wrote about it here on Mother's Day, 2012. If you read it, I think you'll sense my despair. Seven years later, I want to share the note I received from Hannah for Mother's... Read more →


examen with st. ignatius

I've been on an eating binge. This is my sin of choice and the gutter I find myself in over and over is that of gluttony. How is it that I hate this addiction/vice so much yet still return to it over and over? I guess that is what addiction is. Yesterday I was doing the Examination of Conscience as St. Ignatius taught it and experienced some powerful imagery. (I was using a pamphlet I... Read more →


adoption day

What a glorious day, one we've been awaiting. Today, my daughter, Stephanie, and her husband, John Mark welcomed three more children into their family. The adoption process is complete! I am happy to have three new grandchildren: Sydnie, age 11; Landon, age 8; and Rylie, age 6. They are now a family of 10, can you believe? What a journey they've had and will continue to have. It won't be easy, but they knew that... Read more →


2019 goals and such

2019 Yip, Yip published Spend prayer time every month on specific people (January: Sandy; February: Paul; etc) Eat low carb and no whites Pay credit line down to $5000 Almost finish Bachelors Degree, maintain a 4.0 GPA Focus on growth in fortitude, patience, and temperance Finish Bible Timeline study at church Read more in the evening and Facebook less Keep 3:00 prayer break No snacks between meals at work Park at Mall so I get... Read more →


2018 successes and highlights

2018 Focused on growth in virtue, holiness, humility and fortitude. I definitely grew in those areas. I navigated executrix-ship of Daddy's estate pretty well. Probate closed and my siblings and I are still in good relationship. Daddy blessed us financially. Thank you, Daddy. I wish I had thanked you when you were still living, but we all know you were weird about money and may have taken my thanks wrong. I write that smiling because... Read more →


thursday thirteen

It is 2018. I have not done a Thursday Thirteen since 2012. I just reread some of my old ones and was impressed with how they allow a graceful catch up. So, in the spirit of catch up, here we go. 1. After coming back from Arkansas for an extended stay last year, I was hired as a business coordinator at my present job. I enjoyed the work and it looked like a promising move.... Read more →


a blind date funny

I just remembered a funny from decades ago. A fellow and I went on a blind date and it wasn't too grand. Tipped off by a few things that indicated it wasn't going to be a fun evening, but, unwilling to hurt the guy's feelings by canceling, I wrangled my friend Edith into joining me in my stupid predicament. Her support meant the world to me. The poor fellow, a soldier just returning from the... Read more →


2017 in review

What a full, and unusual, year 2017 was. The highlight of the early part of the year was our 24th anniversary trip to Cannon Beach, Oregon. We had an amazing time. The first morning we were there I did something I’ve never done before: I read, journalled, and had coffee in bed. I felt I was in the lap of luxury. Cannon Beach is very beautiful and I’d recommend it to anyone for a vacation.... Read more →


daddy's obituary

Curtis Houston Callahan May 8, 1933 - October 20, 2017 Curtis Houston Callahan died peacefully of leukemia at the home of his son and daughter-in-law on Friday, October 20, 2017. He was 84 years old. He was born May 8, 1933 in Potter, Arkansas to Herman and Delia Callahan. He was a veteran of the Korean War era and was honorably discharged from the US Army in 1953. He married Geraldine Piearcy in 1956 and... Read more →


my eucharistic miracle

This time last year, I was selling insurance and hating it. I asked Gordon what he thought about me going part-time and he was opposed to it. On the Sunshine Coast, there's definitely not an abundance of jobs to choose from. I lived for weekends and most nights I went to bed with dread at having to go to work the next day. After Gordon said no way to my going to work part-time, I... Read more →


hannah and darian's wedding

Our middle daughter, Hannah, married on May 7, 2016. It was a very Hannah-and-Darian type wedding; simple, sweet, and intimate. I was delighted that they chose our backyard to marry. Not only was it beautiful, it was an easy and low-stress wedding. My sister, Stacie, came from North Carolina to supervise (plan and cook) the reception dinner of lasagna. Everyone raved about it. Gordon's mom and brother, Grant, came from Edmonton. Darian's grandmothers, uncle, aunt,... Read more →