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July 24, 2007

Well, much has happened in the Salter home the last few months.  As always, Mike and I apologize for the delay in keeping all of our faithful prayer warriors informed about Meghan’s condition. 

2007 Mother of Year Nomination Letter
Several exciting events occurred with our family in the recent months.  First, Lauren (13 years old), wrote a nomination letter for the Right to Life Lifespan, Mother of The Year Award.  Her nomination essay won first place.  Mike knew about this letter while she crafted it…the letter took Lauren two weeks to write. So that I wouldn’t find out, Lauren worked on it nightly while I was sleeping. The nomination letter was printed in the Right to Life-Lifespan June, 2007 newsletter.  The letter can be viewed by clicking a link on Meghan’s homepage. I consider her nomination letter to be one incredibly touching love letter.  We, as a family, sat together at the awards dinner listening to Lauren read the letter aloud to 500 pro-lifers in attendance.  Lauren was very nervous, but with the Holy Spirit on her side, she presented this pro-life, pro-family essay with much confidence.  She received a standing ovation, that was indeed God focused.  As we gazed upon Lauren sharing her letter, a joy filled our hearts as she explained how God has blessed our family.  Please take time to read the letter, as Lauren poured her heart into it.

Shannon’s Award
Secondly, Shannon (8 yrs. Old), received an award from Kohl’s Department store for her community service.  As some of you know, she had an art show earlier this year in which she raised over $700 for the Lennon Crises Pregnancy Center in Dearborn.  Employees of Kohl’s of Novi found out about her altruistic act, so they asked Shannon to submit her kind act in writing.  She won the award and received a certificate of achievement and a $50 Kohl’s gift card for being the store winner (Novi Kohl’s Store)!  Congratulations to Shannon for being a courageous soldier for Christ! 

Meghan’s Recovery
Meghan has done very well since her back surgery in April. The long recovery however was filled with much physical pain.  I believe that we were so focused on the actual surgery,  her living through it, the anesthesia, seizures, blood loss and the incision which would run down her entire back… that we did not plan for the after surgery care. Meghan took a long couple of weeks to recover from surgery.  Our little girl endured much pain during her recovery, with many tears shed by both her and her family who loves her so dearly.  However, we never felt alone, for we knew that God was always with us each step of the way.  It took at least four of us to move her even the slightest bit to reduce the pain caused by the movement.  She would cry in pain with each attempt to move her “Christ dedicated” body.  After a couple of days, we needed to get her out of bed so that she would not develop lung problems.  It was a painful lift into mommy’s arms, and painful for all of us who witnessed it. But, a long nap in mommy’s arms was healing for both of us. She needed to spend 13 days of recovery in the hospital. She also suffered a chemical burn which has been coined “purple glove syndrome” due to the dark purple appearance.  This was caused by a blown IV in her left foot.  Her foot is still recovering from this unfortunate accident. Meghan suffered much each day, as God filled us with the grace that we so desire as a family.  Lauren, Michael and Shannon took the surgery day off from school to be with their sister.  They spent a large part of each day with Meghan, not wanting to miss any opportunity to show their love for their little sister.

God, as He always promises, continues to shower our family with His unfailing love.  I feel so honored to share with you the following news.  Since the surgery her back is now as straight as possible. Along with that, Meghan can breathe without much trouble. Let me explain.  Even though she remains on the ventilator, her lungs, and organs were being compressed before surgery, which caused her much discomfort and difficulty breathing. With her scoliosis straightened, she can now do things that she could not do previously.  We are so excited to now be able to share the sacrifice of the Mass with Meghan, which is the most incredible gift from our Father and is pure joy. Meghan can now attend daily Mass along with Sunday Mass. This has been a long time prayer for us.  At first, I started attending Mass on Wednesdays in May when Shannon’s class would also be attending.  Shannon is so in love with Meghan and was thrilled to show off her sister to her friends. Mike of course was at work.  I prayed for courage and strength as I packed up Meghan all alone, and loaded up all of her life-support equipment, and ramped her out of the van into church.  I will admit that this takes great courage—the courage only God can provide.  What would I do if she turned blue during Mass?  Well, I prayed very hard that God please give me what I needed to allow Meghan to attend Mass.  My heart was pounding those first few Masses.  I stood in back, choosing not to sit so that I would not interrupt anyone if I had to stand to take care of Meghan. One particular Mass I was standing in the back feeling very alone, and crying and praying to God to show me that I’m not alone.  As I knelt during the consecration, I turned to briefly check on Meghan’s breathing, and as I turned back toward the altar, Fr Stephen Burr was holding up the Precious Blood and I heard the Lord say “Ellen, I will never leave you, I shed my blood for you.”           

After a few weeks, Mike and I decided that Meghan was ready to attend Mass on Sunday.  Even though she can not be exposed to germs, we continue to pray to God that she shield her from any additional sickness.  We did it – God blessed us with the courage, strength and gift to attend Mass as a family.  What a joy!   An answer to years of prayers! 

Meghan’s First Communion
Then, God again blessed us with yet another miracle.  As the slideshow highlights, Bishop John Quinn came to visit Meghan Marie after hearing so much about her from Fr. John Riccardo.  What a blessed visit!  What an honor to have Bishop Quinn in our home.  Our family was filled with excitement!  Bishop Quinn asked if Meghan had already received Communion today at Mass.  We explained that Meghan had not received her First Holy Communion.  He decided that he would just leave the decision up to Meghan.  Bishop Quinn asked Meghan if she was ready to receive Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.  We have never witnessed Meghan smile so big and so long.  She also sang with her little voice.  I wish to convey this to you better, but no words can fully capture the essence.  Bishop Quinn, as well as everyone present in the room, knew that Meghan fully understood the question and answered the only way she could—with an overwhelming, radiant smile that shone for quite sometime. Many, many thanks to Bishop Quinn for being moved by the Holy Spirit to ask our precious daughter if she was prepared to receive our Lord Jesus.

We scheduled Meghan’s First Holy Communion day for July, 17th at 6:00PM in our Dearborn home.  Attending were Bishop John Quinn, Fr. John Riccardo, Fr. Steve Burr, Deacon Jerry McGowan (my cousin) and his wife Millie, grandparents, several aunts and uncles, and our immediate family. The intimate setting, as Meghan received Jesus, was just perfect!  Meghan was dressed in her pure white dress also used on her Confirmation day. She wore the veil that her sisters wore for their first Holy Communion day. The Mass was intimate and ever so blessed.  Our hearts leaped with joy at this occasion.  We humbly thank God for His generous love toward our family.  We have been praying for some time that if it be God’s will, that Meghan receive her First Communion. Thanks also to our dear friends, Fr. John, Fr. Steve and Deacon Jerry for helping plan and celebrate the mass.  The evening included a formal sit down dinner with the grandparents and clergy.  The delicious dinner was catered by my brother-in-law Chef Peter Veach, which was incredible and much appreciated.  We will never forget that beautiful, grace filled night!  The slideshow helps capture the moment, so please be sure to view it—and say a prayer for Meghan while viewing it!

We thank you all for the prayers for Meghan and our family.  Please know that we pray for all of you often. 

Ellen and Mike Salter

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