Have the Olympics inspired you? They continue to inspire me! Its never too late to become the best FIT, Catholic, Mom, Woman, and Athlete God created you to be!
Download my free eBook here: http://www.fitcatholicmom.com/free-ebook.html
Everyday I weigh what is important in my life.
I certainly weigh what it will cost me if I don't take care of my health, and what I will gain if I do.
Face it ladies! We're all pretty obsessed with body image, but this too needs to be weighed.
Physical fitness isn't a good because I think it should be so. I value it as a good because Our Lord did too, but don't get all neo-pagan-cult-of-the-body on me!
There comes a point where you have to draw the line between necessary and reasonable care and the obvious extremes which are to be avoided.
Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 2288 states:
"Life and physical health are precious gifts entrusted to us by God.We must take reasonable care of them, taking into account the needs of others and the common good."
"If morality requires respect for the life of the body, it does not make it an absolute value. It rejects a neo-pagan notion that tends to promote the cult of the body, to sacrifice everything for its sake, to idolize physical perfection and success at sports."
By caring for myself physically, I feel my life and faith are more attractive.
This WEIGHS in as super important!
I am closer to having what life takes when I strive to be healthy in every way.
My body needs formation, so I can better search for and communicate the Truth.
This gets me out of bed!
In fact, it made me sweat profusely twice yesterday!
I am motivated to get to where I want to go. I will rise and not be defeated by my lame and lazy self, which is beginning to get schooled again by my driven and passionate one.
May my yes be yes, and my no be no.
So, as you continue to watch the Olympic Games, be inspired by the sacrifice and dedication of the athletes and see how you might apply some of that awesomeness to your own life and vocation!
Since beginning my August W.I.S.E. Gals Group Training I have lost 5 lbs. in just the first 10 days! I have prayed more and eaten better too! I am more motivated and encouraged by daily getting fit with a small community of women. If this interests you, consider being a part of the upcoming Sept. group! I'd love to help you get to where you want to go.
W.I.S.E. Gals - Learn More
I remember several years ago when my older sister admitted to me that she always broke the crown off the stem when buying broccoli at the store. She exclaimed to me, "Why do they sell that part?" I had to inform her there was more than meets the eye in there.
If she would be a little more resourceful and peel away the outer toughness of the stem, she could get down to the useable inner part. Sometimes this can ring true in our womanhood.
We can end up coming across as useless and toughened on the outside, but a good peeling away will reveal all the goodness about us.
You are more than meets the eye! Our Father knows it because He made you that way.
Today let your inner layer out. Use your full potential!
Be salt and light in a world gone mad and growing darkened.
"In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16
Strip away your barriers today, the rest of the week and for the whole of your life!
Be well. Live in Him and for Him.
Living authentically as Catholics requires that we be happy, healthy and holy during this Easter Season and all other times of life. I base this on the premise that we are to be stewards of our mortal flesh, the place of the indwelling, divine, immortal Holy Spirit.
"...For the Church cannot but encourage everything that serves the harmonious development of the human body, rightly considered the masterpiece of the whole of creation, not only because of its proportion, vigor, and beauty, but also and especially because God has made it his dwelling and the instrument of an immortal soul…” POPE SAINT JOHN PAUL II
If our efforts are in this perspective than it is truly possible to find a harmonious physical and spiritual balance and a deep focus on Christ.
Take a look at three points below that I have rephrased for a better understanding of stewardship:
1. Happy = having a deep joy, a blessed assurance, a peace the world cannot give, living in a state of grace, looking at what you do have instead of what you don't, attitude of gratitude, big picture stuff
2. Healthy = living an invigorated life, mastery of habits, fully conscious decisions for the flesh and the spirit, aiming towards wholeness, seeking the “real”, weeding out falsity of every kind
3. Holy = being devoted, focused, a disciple rooted in discipline, unity with the beloved, living for “other" and dead to “self”, a passionate humble presence, other worldliness, unshakable in faith
All these lived in season and out of season, when you feel up to it and when you don’t, whether alone or in public, safe or captive, rich or poor, etc...
I have great recourse to St. Paul’s many profound words like those of 1 Corinthians 9:27
“I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”
This is when living meets its full expression in the gifts given to you by Christ, which are many, even if yet undiscovered by you. However, this is not a wealth and health gospel! You will suffer after the pattern of Christ because none are immune to it. It is his death and ours, which lead to resurrection. It is therefore a matter of how we choose to suffer and what lense we see it’s meaning through.
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
This week, be an OVERCOMER! Christ has trampled death by death.
Try to do these simple things: 1 visit to the Blessed Sacrament at a Catholic Church, 1 more workout than you’d normally do, a walk, a hike, a bike ride, a tennis match…, 1 meal without any sugar or grains, just veggies and good grass-fed quality meat.
Tackle 3, you’ll see…progress.
Praying for you,
There's "rocket science" and then there's not. Getting yourself out the door for some fresh air and exercise falls far from the category of actual "rocket science," so let's stop thinking they're one in the same. Seriously! A little look within and we remember the great benefits of seeing the sky, hearing the birds and feeling the breeze. I'm already more alive just for writing the last sentence. It's good to take in the bigger picture and remember that "in Him we live and move and have our being." Acts 17:28 We literally have our being from Him and a great part of that is to experience everything else that He also spoke into being. It's like hitting the reset button or regaining our lost default settings and it's super worth the effort!
We can all crack our personal code of what it takes to make our fitness happen. Each day has its own factors, each year and each phase in life. Looking into the next day ask yourself, "what can I do to get out and exercise tomorrow?" Can I craft a budget that will allow for it? Can I arrange a handful of details so nothing gets dropped and more is accomplished? I think these 5 tips will help make it easier.
1. Always try to set up a Time, Person and Place
Sometimes you can be your own person, in your own good time, in any place. For those times when the motivation isn't there, it only makes sense to invite someone else into the mix. Maybe it's asking your husband to come home :30 minutes early to kick you out the door with your girlfriend for a :45 min. fun run or have two friends over for a circuit strength workout in your basement or backyard while the kids play and you fellowship. We can even take the kids with us using the amazing tow and push apparatuses we all should own.
2. Set Your Things Out
Lay out all the necessary accouterments so you have them to help lure you into your goal. Staring at a pile of running clothes and shoes all day will speak to you at the level of your intention. Don't go for "out of sight out of mind." Another best practice is to put them on and wear them until it happens. You can only take them off once they stink from activity. Act ready to get sweaty!
3. Do a Familiar Routine or Route
If you really need to knock the effort down to make it happen, choose an all familiar route or group of exercises so you can better accomplish the task in your very budgeted timeframe. No one will fault you if it's where you've run before or that it's the same Tabata High Intensity Intervals that you did in your back yard last week. The point is that you are going to make it happen because it's measured and specific.
4. Reward Yourself With Something
Wait...this needs a little qualifying. I definitely didn't mean food! You can use this technique to bait yourself into action. Tell yourself you're gong to do Core on the Floor for :15 minutes solid before that shower making sure your sweaty and ready to clean up. Tell yourself to postpone on something you WANT to do to make room for something you NEED to do. Yes, I can get a movie for family movie night, but it'll be an extra :30 minutes cause I'm gonna ride my bike to and from the Red Box.
5. Be Grateful
Did you really think I was going to forget the last one? Actually, I just wanted to separate it from the others for a dramatic pause. We really need to be grateful for what our bodies can do. We need to hold onto the feeling of accomplishment, dignity and re-creation which happens during exercise to help motivate ourselves again and again. Not everyone can enjoy exercise and to the same extent. It is a necessary good as we seek to help our mind search for and communicate Truth. Would that we were attracting others because we exhibit discipline and character surrounding our exercise habits. Rejoice that you have bodily freedom and seek more abundance in health by getting out regularly. Turn your fitness into witness if even only to your spouse and kids.
Seems complicated that something such as love could be simple. Yesterday, was a shinning example of just how simple love can be. We've been married over 16 years and I used to think we had the simple thing down, I mean, he would just bring me a single red rose on each St. Valentine's Day. As is my style, I'm calling that day by it's formal title! That was plenty simple, cheap, scheduled, predictable, accurate... blah.
We're older and wiser now and know that spontaneity is where it's at! So, as I was dishing the steel cut oats our for the kids and just before they hit our adult bowls, my dear husband declares, "Mom and I are stepping out on a little date." We reserve movies for occasions such as these so our children think they get some extra special treat too. Works every time! Actually, we've waited a long time to have a responsible 14 year old, 14 years of waiting precisely. Now, he gets time as the head of household which I am sure will be good practice for later in life. He was in charge and we were going out to breakfast.
Only a few minutes tick by until we are ready to go, but wait, we don't have a washer and dryer and the laundry bin has seen 10 days worth of action. I guess we were going on a multitasking date. Works for us!
Into town to sort the clothes, change the money, pour the detergent and $15 dollars later we were out of there. We were off to the coffee shop to share a 20 oz. latte, scone, cherry crisp and egg bake something or other. These dates never last long enough because the coffee runs dry and the washer's spin cycle inevitably ends, though it was completely worth the uninterrupted 25 min. of our adult lives.
Back at the laundromat we change the laundry over to the dryers and smile as we read about a local couple on the front page of the paper who's celebrating 69 years. They claim they always took their kids camping, that, "she danced real nice" and that they've had an easy marriage. I grin with my husband and say, "sounds like us." And, I just want to say that he has gotten really good at folding laundry. I used to be able to tell garment by garment whose hands it went through. I am so impressed what a few years in the marriage study program can do!
We pile it all into the car neatly and press the pedal for home. If we could eek a "romantic" time out of the local laundromat, we believe anything will continue to be possible in our married love. Thank you Father God for your gaze upon us, that we may see great worth in each other, by your grace, at every moment.
Greetings! It's been too long since I posted a thought or a prayer here. How is it that our time drains out like water through a sieve? This last year has been a curveball of sorts, the experience full and varied
-April 21st saw the unexpected passing of our 5th child born at 33 weeks with a heart defect. It was very difficult news that he was too small for any surgical options, but it only helped reveal God's will to us in that he was just the right size for heaven.
-May had us packing up and moving into our fifth wheel camper for six and a half months of travel to discern where in the West our family could start a full time agrarian ministry to other families.
-September was a stepping stone to beginning daily homeschool for our three oldest children. While we strive to give them a good education, we really want them to have an excellent formation. Job not complete...give us your light of life Jesus.
-October we found out that I was carrying out precious 6th child while spending time at Tiny Texas Houses to learn to build entirely from salvage using architectural antiques. What joy! To know I am having my easiest pregnancy yet is such a grace during this time in life.
-January was one to remember with both my husband and I packing our first moving truck at 35 years old to move a two days drive from all we've ever known to the great state of Montana. I got to drive a personal vehicle, but God Bless the driver of that stinky truck. He solved the problem eventually!
Along this life journey, which is exciting and yet muddled by my own fleshly expectations, I am ever surprised at the consolation of The Holy Spirit. This last two weeks alone we have met a family with whom we are already intimately united, having prayed over the years to meet someone to fellowship with who could also be a model and guide for our own family life. Believe me, they gracefully manage an entire homestead and the 7 children they had in 8 years, while homeschooling and aiming all efforts toward heaven. I just drop my jaw in amazement having at times thought I had it figured out. Right my pride, right!
-I am also deep into producing my first online course to teach Catholic women how to live life to its fullest, leveraging health and holiness on the way to heaven. I am excited to help impart skills and knowledge for wholeness of health in the key pillars of:
Stay tuned here for more great details coming soon and some video and content giveaways. You can follow me elsewhere too:
Together we'll turn workout into worship and fitness into witness.
Before I sign off, I pray that those who honestly desire rest at the end of this week, can curl up with your family, prepare a cozy warmth of surroundings and take ample time to beg for grace and mercy. May this evening rejuvenate your purpose and your peace for its "in Him we live, and move and have our being." Acts 17:28
A picture is worth a thousand words I hear. This is a smattering of what we've been up to. We are neither here nor there as we decide our next step on this journey of life. We know it will be exciting when we "land" somewhere, but meanwhile we are in flux and trying to stay faithful in watching and praying.
This Eastern Catholic Church in Homer Glen near Chicago was a highlight of our recent travels. The priest, Father Loya, is the host of Light of the East on EWTN. He has hand painted every square inch of this church over the last 15 years. He encouraged us not to view this church as extraordinary saying," it is a run of the mill Byzantine Church." Beautiful things built for God have become so scarce that this becomes a standout when it should be normal. He also had strong words for an overweight, medicine dependent society and encouraged everyone to take up the Eastern Churches' call to fast 4 times a year to promote the interior life and health of the external man. As I looked around, most his congregation would fall into that category. Albeit hard to hear, the truth must be preached in season and out of season.
Our family is praying for you, our friends known and unknown, near and far. We hope you've made memories this summer and found yourself vulnerable enough to love and be loved that together we can hunger and thirst for God. I pray we are realizing every good thing in this life pales in comparison with heaven, bearing in my that all the ills will pass away with creation coming into its perfect redeemed state.
We found one! We found a diamond in the rough! With great joy we recently visited the Holy Transfiguration Skete up on the shores of Lake Superior and the Keweenaw Penninsula. It's amazing what a little Google search with the word "Byzantine" can pull up for you. In all our decades of coming "up north" for bits of the summer, we never knew we were just a few easy hours from a Byzantine Monastery! This places bustles with the lives of 7 concecrated men, some of which are young. Let's hear a hooray for vocations!
Being Byzantine or Eastern Catholics canonically who practice Roman Rite at home, we find this more rare Eastern presence so refreshing. It's like an oasis in the desert. The places where this truly "Ancient Faith" is stored are like a mystical experience for my soul.
This place towers over the shore and yet exists dwarfed in the majestic Michigan woods along the famed Covered Highway. The Skete supports itself with its Jampot which is well known for its jam, aged organic fruit cakes and confectionary delights which are shipped anywhere year round. The monks themselves live by the very work of their hands and have done so in this place for 32 years. The heavily bearded, black cassock wearing monks are cheerily welcoming and inspirational in their dedication to love, labor and savor a life completely hidden for God, in Christ.
During our short visit there weren't any "Great Vespers" or "Divine Liturgies" happening, so we will definetly have to return. I cannot wait to see in their chapel and receive some spiritual food, wade in nearby Jacob's Falls, and take a dip in expansive Lake Superior.
May Our Lord be forever honored in this holy and living place on the shore up north!
In His Grip,
Soaking in the rays from the beach or while being flung across the water behind the boat is such a joy. Setting aside time to sit and watch and pray are part of the daily rhythm. Refresh, relax, rejoice!
My family is taking a few weeks to take a deep breath and reconnect. Not that we ever disconnected, but being up in Northern Wisconsin on the lake is one place which unplugs us from the hustle and bustle. Up here our prayer is more robust, our relationships are nurtured and our gratitude swells. This year we are sharing this precious time with many of the cousins. 4adukts and 11 kids having continuous fun and making a ton of memories.
Being Catholic, with its blessings of universality, we come together to pray and fellowship very seamlessly. A personal favorite devotion of mine is the full group walking rosary down Grandpa's long paved driveway. Each kid takes great care to lead a decade intently and we survey God's greatness in nature as we go.
I'm praying for each of you, that today you may dwell in security and peace, possessing the inestimable wealth of knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. To Him be glory forever and ever! Amen
I'm praying for each of you, that today you may dwell in security and peace, possessing the inestimable wealth of knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. To Him be glory forever and ever! Amen
By Rebecca Dussault
Now I've got you wondering! No, I have never done a recreational drug of any sort, yet one of the reCREATIONal drugs I do is to spend time in the mountains recreating. This experience always recreates me. I feel alive when I get up into the high elevations of Colorado. It really is the best kind of high!
This past week we were deep in the San Juan Mountains setting up tents for our business Global Shelters, while taking in one of the most intense physical challenges a human can undergo, the Hardrock 100. It is a running race held annually in July which connects 4 historical Colorado mining town towns by foot with a vertical ascent/descent of 33,145 ft.! The amount of stamina and fortitude it takes is nearly incalculable. We were especially intereted in watching Killian Jornet of Spain, undoubtably the greatest endurance runner of our time. He holds the course record of 22:41 which he put up in a clockwise running of the race in 2014.
I have recently completed Killian's new book and while he is more runner than writer, I really enjoyed the insight he gave on how he was raised. The formation his parents afforded him as he became a world renowned endurance athlete is incredible, from xc ski races, to long bike rides, to large European summits as a family at a young age, he really is unique. If there could actually be a half goat/half man figure, not mythical in nature, it's Killian Jornet.
There is just something about the heights which lead me to praise and adoration of such a generous Creator who delights me to enjoy the remote areas of Colorado. "In Him I live, and move and have my being," as Sacred Scripture says.
To the heights,
Killian in red, 6 hours into his 23:28min. race counter clockwise in 2015. He won!
Huglekultur! What the "hay" is that?
Hugelkultur are no-dig raised beds with a difference. They hold moisture, build fertility, maximise surface volume and are great spaces for growing fruit, vegetables and herbs. Hugelkultur, pronounced Hoo-gul-culture, means hill culture or hill mound.
I have recently taken a great interest in this sort of growing. I love that it uses what most of us want to throw away as "yard refuse," though probably not technically "hay." Looking again at the picture above you can see that, in a very small footprint, the gal is able to grow an abundant variety of plants with a highly efficient use of space. A moment spent Google-ing the word huglekultur to scan the images and I will soon have you hooked too!
We have just made a first attempt at a huglekultur mound at our "Camp." We have such an abundance of half rotten aspen wood and I know how quickly it's given to decomposition. Other than the dog possibly destroying it as he hunts for what seems to be a new resident rodent, it seems like it will be an incredible piece of our sustainable growing systems this summer. I cannot wait to watch it transform in abundance. For further reading please visit http://www.richsoil.com/hugelkultur/ or any other enticing webpages and learn all you can about PERMACULTURE. Happy planting!
"Permaculture is a science based ethical design system. Used to answer the all encompassing question "How do we live sustainably?" Founded in three ethics - Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share practitioners of permaculture use nature inspired design with tools and methods based in science, engineering, agriculture, finances, community building to create sustainable regenerative human habitat. This design system uses organic agriculture, urban farming, regenerative design, and many other ways of knowing to teach and provide a practical framework for individuals to take responsibility for themselves, their children and their community." --Permaculture BC
I want to introduce to you some new ideas for your pantry! It’s crucial that you’re supporting your training regiment with fully healthy foods. This article I’ve included talks about a “paleo pantry” which is a nice way of stating, in my opinion, these are timeless foods which will not come and go with fads. Some of these you will have heard of and others will need a few moments of your research to see if you’d like to incorporate them.
5 which top my personal list are:
Coconut oil: you can cook with it, moisturize with it, make a tooth paste, use it as a career oil for essential oils, etc. Very versatile and should be a staple.
Bone broth: if you cannot make your own, incorporate quality bone broth whenever possible. These gelatinous and healthy grass food fats are a must!
Grassfed Butter: like I said, fats are a must. Consider adding grass fed butter to your morning cup of coffee to make it “bulletproof.”
Nut Butters: peanut butter with its molds is a thing of the past in my household. Fresh ground raw nuts make adding nut proteins and fats easy on veggies or bread.
Raw Milk: cooled right from the cow is how we drink it. Inquire where you live to experience real milk. http://nourishedkitchen.com/10-reasons-drink-raw-milk/
My subsequent challenge to you is to make half your week gluten-free! Even if you don’t have a tested and proven gluten allergy, that pesky substance is probably making you more tired than you realize. Consider which 3 DAYS OF THE WEEK you can be gluten free.
It could be that even our food decisions effect us spiritually. Let’s use our full capacity to master our body by correct use of our mind and spirit. Today, stick to your “why” as you make food choices. “Why” are you eating that? Be intentional!
Choose the high road=the most nutrient dense real foods.
(Sitting here wishing I’d had my bulletproof coffee with spinach and gruyere eggs, instead of two pieces of toast.)
Everyday is a new day in which we wake in the Light of Christ our Life.
Bounteous health to you,
Words don’t come too easy on a day when you lay to rest your tiny newborn son. Our little baby was nurtured in the womb and was named Peace from very early on, who joined us for a moment and then passed on. The irony of it all... How do you find peace in something that seems so tragic and void of peace?
This little baby was entrusted to us and when we found that baby had a bad heart we did everything possible to affect a favorable outcome. Trusting in God’s design and will for our lives, we were prepared to welcome this child into our family, to love and raise him as a child of God. Our faith in God tells us He had another plan for this little baby named Joseph Peace and this family named Dussault.
Peace- it’s hard to find these days as we hear and experience tragedy and war all around us. Sometimes even in our own lives peace seems so far off. In our families, with our friends, and in our communities. Is peace something too lofty, too difficult a reality to live by, something that is not attainable?
On the night of April 20th, 2015 at nearly 33 weeks gestation, the placenta gave up and started pulling away from the uterine wall. Labor came on quickly and our baby boy greeted us in this world, so tiny, so fragile and with a heart that was broken. Weighing only 2 lbs 8 ozs, the doctors said he was too small to operate on so we prepared to let baby go. We named him Joseph Peace, having him immediately baptized and then continuing to pray Psalms over him until he passed. We held baby near to comfort him, no needles, no poking, no cutting, no ventilator, nothing but God’s presence and peace. Everyone in the room was amazed at the calm and peacefulness of what was transpiring. Though he only lived two hours, his mission was accomplished out of sight and sound. This was our child and he came to bring peace.
Joseph Peace, he touched lives around the world even from within the womb. From Nepal, to New Zealand, Israel, Alaska, Chile, Italy, France, Hungry, and across the United States. Those who followed his story were always confronted with the word “peace” which played the central role in his little life. It caused us to have peace in our own family, peace for those who prayed for him, peace for the doctors and nurses that helped us along this journey, peace for those nearest us, and peace in this world that seems so broken and void of peace. This was his life, even if it was so short. This was Joseph Peace’s mission and in that we have peace. Our children will forever be more precious because of this loss and our family will be forever blessed by this little life. For now, we have someone in heaven praying for us and waiting to meet us when we are laid to rest.
This challenging chapter in our life will never be closed because of this precious life that lives on. God blessed us with the love of this pregnancy and we always trusted that His Will and Wisdom were far greater than ours. After five weeks of doctor appointments, travel and many tearful moments little Joseph Peace ended up accomplishing a great deal. So when life seems so broken and void of peace, maybe think of Joseph Peace, for perhaps his short journey was meant to help us all find a little more peace in life.
You all have been a part of it in one way or another, some from a distance, some very near. All of you have supported us so beautifully with your words of encouragement, fervent prayers, meals, gifts, money, love, kindness and help. Our family will forever be blessed by your generosity.
Joseph Peace. We love you. May your memory be eternal!
Joseph Peace Dussault
Born to Eternal Life 4-21-15
2 lbs 8oz (1130g)
On Earth Day, 2015, Baby Joseph Peace Dussault was laid to rest in beautiful hallowed ground ... an Angel destined to occupy space otherwise held for a mere mortal.
His short life and tiny body were consecrated to God in Baptism and Eucharistic Thanksgiving, the sorrow of loss consoled by the certain knowledge that Baby Peace's blessed arrival in Heaven portends our own journey to meet him again in God's Bliss and the certain understanding that he was knit in the womb by God's hands before the dawn of the world as part of His grand plan, beyond all understanding.
Tears streamed as dozens revered the body of Baby Peace in sweet repose before the holy altar of Queen of All Saints, guarded by Christ Jesus in the Tabernacle and the holy vessels offering His precious Body and Blood. After those gathered took that precious Host into themselves in the faith, belief, hope and intention of becoming one with Christ, they reached into the tiny coffin to offer Baby Peace a kiss, a cross drawn on his forehead, the gentle press of fingers upon his heart brought back to their own as a holy caress and blessing. The voice of his Grandmother and two friends filled the sanctuary with comfort and joy, joining the choir of Angels celebrating Baby's precious life and return home.
Baby Joseph Peace Dussault was carried with love and hope to his final resting spot, where the earth is too beautiful to fathom, Elk pass nearby with their own babies, birds sing songs to heaven, deer browse in wild freedom, sagebrush and wildflowers grow in profusion, and grand mountains will ever protect his earthly rest ... all reflecting the wonder and awe of God's creation.
Praise and Thanks be to God Almighty: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ... One God, forever and ever.
Thank you Barbara for capturing the day in words and Croix for capturing the day in pictures.
Dear Friends and Family,
Yesterday, I went to my scheduled ultrasound and heart echo for baby Peace at Children’s hospital in Aurora. As it was, Sharbel and his bother Croix had a WeatherPort job down here in Denver, so Sharbel joined me for my appointments while Croix performed the tent work. Both doctors we met with during the ultrasound and heart echo were fairly positive that baby Peace was active and stable, nothing had really improved or declined. The true measurement for baby’s weight which everything greatly hinged on wouldn’t take place until Thursday, so we left hopeful that baby was trending for the better and was doing okay. After a brief late lunch together, Sharbel and Croix heading for home while I stayed here in Denver to bedrest and go to my next appointments on Thursday. It was a tear filled departure as our cars went separate ways off the interstate.
Everything was okay until I got back to my temporary home and started feeling more and more serious contractions. I called Sharbel and asked him to pull over to give me a few minutes to time them. He was already 45 minutes out and heading into the mountains. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the contractions were increasing with regularity and severity. Sharbel and Croix turned around and actually beat me at the hospital!
Once I arrived and got situated on the maternal fetal medicine floor, things were progressing far too quickly to attempt stopping the labor. I was then moved to an actual delivery room instead of a bed in the triage room. For whatever reason labor came to a complete standstill and allowed us the time to be very present and prayerful together. We asked our priest to come in and pray with us. During this I was loosing a lot of blood and my blood pressure dropped significantly. All of a sudden things got pretty intense! I was started on pitocin to help the contractions return. Shortly after that, labor kicked in again and baby was born soon after presenting frank breech. I was given a two bag blood transfusions and stabilized quickly.
We named our littlest son Joseph Peace Dussault. He immediately received an emergency Byzantine baptism. Because of baby’s small size and prematurity, along with the very severe nature of his heart condition, there was not much the doctors could do. As hard as it was to feel like we couldn’t do anything, we were at peace with just holding baby and comforting him and commending him back to God. He passed away in absolute peace just over 2 hours after birth in the arms of his father with the psalms being prayed over him. It was only by God’s providence that the timing of all of this took place with Sharbel still within reach and not 5 hours away in Crested Butte.
God blessed us with the love of this pregnancy and we always trusted that his Will and Wisdom is far greater than ours. After five weeks of doctor appointments, travel and many tearful moments little Joseph ended up accomplishing a great deal in the womb and outside. He has brought even greater unity and love to so many people who are forever changed by his struggle and journey home to God.
We will lay baby Joseph Peace to rest in Crested Butte tomorrow after we celebrate his life with Mass starting at 11:00 am at Queen of All Saints Catholic Church in Crested Butte.
We can’t fathom the depth that each of you have carried us through this difficult and beautiful time.
Rebecca and Sharbel
Joseph Peace Dussault
I'm somewhere in between excited and anxious for another ultrasound tomorrow. I do hope it gives us more indication of where we're headed in this. Meanwhile, this little person is giving a regular circus performance each day, always connecting me back to that life force within. I feel so grateful for each moment I have as mother to Baby Peace. I would not be telling the truth if I made this journey seem easy for a second. It has tried me to my every fiber.
I do praise the Lord everyday for the ability to FaceTime my precious kids and spouse back home regularly. It seems the kid's fight these days for whose face gets to fill the screen as we talk, and as great and necessary as that technology is, it simply cannot replace the reassurance of hugging and kissing each other. #longesttwoweeksofmylife
I have been the recipient of so much support! The ways in which you have all contributed to making this time as tolerable as it can be is just smashingly great! From the GoFundMe campaign, which is helping to see us through this trial, to the last bowl of hot soup in the pot at home brought over by loving hands, I just want to say an enormous thank you! THANK YOU!
As ever, I ask you to remain vigilant in prayer with us, for healing for Baby Peace and family unity come what may.
In sincerity of heart,
After spending part of the morning at Eucharistic Adoration at Queen of Peace Catholic Church (yes baby Peace that was intentional) we stepped back into the hospital for what we believed would be one more fateful look at our circumstance. Even before the ultrasound began we were visited by our cardiologist in the waiting room, so dedicated to our cause that she came by the hospital in her street clothes on her day off. She explained that she and the surgeon talked over the weekend and have given us the possibility of trying a Valvuloplasty, same as what would have been done in utero in Boston but outside the womb. From there they would hope to relieve the Left Ventricle and see if we can minimize the backward flow of blood through baby's Mitral Valve, which actually has correct structure, but a sickened function.
From here they would consider a "hybrid surgery" where in they would band off the Pulmonary Arteries and create a new stint leaving baby's Ductus Arteriosus (open in womb during pregnancy) permanently open. This is similar, yet different from what would have been baby's originally Stage 1 of open heart surgery. This brings some measure of hope provided baby can grow to meet the new surgical threshold of 1500 grams (3lbs. 3oz.) Baby is currently around 1100 grams (2lbs. 10oz.).
After our talk with the cardiologist, we went in for another ultrasound to have a look at baby. To our suprise and even the doctors surprise, the flow through the Umbilical Artery had returned to being "absent" or "stop and go" as opposed to "reverse" and flowing wrongly back toward the heart. This was good news! It means that baby may still have a chance to grow inside the womb and gain the necessary weight for the heart surgery after birth.
I tell you...you just never know! Obviously, having all of you in prayer with us is doing something!
The next few days I will be bed resting in Denver until my next ultrasound on Thursday while Sharbel runs home for a few days to relieve our awesome relatives, namely his saintly mother who is taking the brunt of our tribe.
Hoping you are all willing to stay tuned in as this ride is not over yet!
Rebecca and Sharbel
Words can't express our gratitude for your outpouring of prayers, acts of kindness and generosity during this difficult time. We are back in Denver at Children's hospital in Aurora.
After a very nerve racking Thurs. night in Boston with little sleep for fear of pre-term labor following the many contractions that momma was having, we jumped on a 5hr flight back to Denver. We had some other indicators saying it was most likely okay to rush back...This was a risk, but one worth taking. It was a sigh of relief to land and get to the hospital near our home soil.
After another battery of imagining, the findings at Boston were confirmed here in Colorado. Mainly, that the placenta has begun to give up and there is now reverse flow from it to the baby. Baby Peace is struggling to gain weight as more and more complications arrise. It's a delicate situation with baby too small to survive outside the womb given its heart condition, and yet, not being nourished enough inside the womb to grow anymore. In addition to what we are looking at, the heart surgeons are telling us that baby is too small to be operable as they have never performed these complicated surgeries on a baby the size of Baby Peace.
We will remain here at Children’s hospital until all options are considered and questions answered. It is becoming more clear that baby Peace needs to be born sooner than later. At that point, we will see if and what doctors can do to help baby. More and more it feels that we are running out of options and that is difficult to accept.
Our firm hope and trust is in the Lord and we continue to pray for a miracle and for God's will to be done.
Thank you for being apart of our lives. We are overcome with astonishment as we experience such love and care for baby Peace who hasn’t even been born yet. It’s amazing to see how many people baby Peace’s life has already touched across the world.
Rebecca and Sharbel
Without further ado:
This has been quite the day! We can confidently say that we didn’t gain the traction we had hoped to through testing en route to tomorrow’s heart surgery on baby Peace. Even though the day started with a positive fetal eco at Boston Children's showing no further deterioration of Baby Peace’s heart condition, the next study and doctor meet up proved another thing altogether.
Next we went to at Brigham Women’s hospital for a complete sonogram/ultrasound work up of the baby. What was observed was not good news. The first alarm was that that the estimated weight of baby Peace was 2 lbs. 10 oz. which is in the 0 percentile for being 31 weeks pregnant. Second, was that my cervix had shortened which is an indicator that the minor contractions I have been feeling are getting me ready for labor. The last and most concerning finding was that the umbilical cord is showing an absence of blood flow from the placenta to baby. With all of this news piling up, we all of sudden found ourselves in the labor and delivery room with a whole new set of doctors wondering if I was about to give birth or if they should do a c-section and get baby out right away.
So, with a full team gathered around me of pediatrics cardiologist, neo-natalogists, nurses and the like, we were presented with the reality that if baby were born imminently that the prognosis for survival is extremely slim, given his or her size and sickness of heart. Even if the doctors were to do everything possible for baby Peace at this time the situation is looking grim. That said, sometimes they get surprised by a little one which stays in the womb way longer than thought and actually comes out with a fighting chance. We really don't know where we are on that spectrum yet.. A highly educated guess though has me going into labor sooner than later.
It is hard to understand how quickly and drastically this keeps changing. We start thinking in one direction and charting a course and then hit another intersection of discernment and decisions. I spent the day hooked up to monitors with the prospect of "being in early labor and having a possible C-section" to now being cleared to fly home on a flight first thing in the morning providing there are no obvious changes overnight. Our intent throughout the day has been to have a safe mommy and baby, but ideally in Children’s in Aurora, CO.
Please stay vigilant in prayer with us and know that we cannot do this without you. God be glorified in all we do and say and think and feel. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, pray for us! Mighty angels protect us!
Thank you dear ones,
Rebecca and Sharbel