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December 30, 2007

As our year comes to a close, we ponder the wondrous blessings we have been showered with this year. Meghan had 2 spine surgeries, a chemical burn on her foot, a few new back braces made, many appointments, blood draws, and a few colds and fevers, and the pain of her back “hardware” shifting once near the top of her back.   With all of this – we praise God!  Meghan celebrated her 5th birthday, a day we were not sure would be granted.  Yes, there were many things she could not “do” on her birthday, which made it emotional on many levels.  But, we chose to celebrate her life on October 16!  We chose to celebrate how perfect she is to us, and how much we adore this little human being—made in the image and likeness of God Himself!

This year Meghan received the Sacrament of Confirmation, taking on the name of Therese (The Little Flower) and chose her sister Lauren as her sponsor.  She received First Holy Communion, in the form of the Precious Blood and has received the anointing of the sick several times by Father John Riccardo and Father Steve Burr.  She continues to receive Communion in our home about once a week from either Bishop John Quinn or Deacon Jerry McGowan.  What an incredible gift to watch Meghan as she lays waiting for the Precious Blood to touch her tongue and the joy in her smile!  We hold on to these days of glory!      

Mike and I have spoken now a few times and I have to say, God has really challenged us.  With each invitation to speak at an event, I usually try to somehow see if perhaps the organizers would consider another speaker?  I am always certain there is someone more qualified.  And having a deadline is not something I find easy.  Mike is much better working with a deadline. We know it takes great preparation and time and most importantly it is a great responsibility to speak the truth about God and scripture.  Thank you to all of you who have supported us as we speak on how our journey has brought us closer to God.  Our family story is not really about us at all, and we hope all of you realize that we only speak to do His work.  As Fr. John Corapi says so eloquently about the reality of suffering, “It is not a matter of ‘if,’ it is a matter of ‘when’.  There is no Easter Sunday without first experiencing Good Friday.”

Lauren, Michael and Shannon are all doing very well and enjoying life.  Lauren started High School at Divine Child and is in the medical club. She is having a great time! Michael is an alter server, and plays on the 6th grade basketball team.  Shannon is in the school choir, a Little Flower’s Saint Therese group and plays the flute.       

It’s hard to believe some days that 5 years have passed.  From the beginning, when Meghan first became ill, I remember how over-whelmed we were daily.  Those days were long and dark.  I remember not being able to stand up or lift my “heavy” head.  I could not even eat or drink water.  How my darling husband held the family together.  Mike and I cried so much, and prayed constantly, always with Meghan in our arms hoping she would not turn blue again.

We were so afraid that Meghan would die, and we would never feel joy again.  I recount this for you, not because I enjoy recalling the pain, but for your sake.  First of all, fear is never from God. We are to trust Him and never fear.  That will bring you to true humility.  Persistent prayer, becoming so weak that you finally let go, trust in our Lord rest in His mercy, and having faith that His will be done!  I think back and realize that we had to fall flat on our faces, so that we could truly see God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness as he lifted us back on our feet.  Through spiritual direction, reading scripture and surrendering our lives to God the almighty we live now in the joy only He can provide.  Our hearts leap with joy! 

We never were alone, God was holding us tight. He loves all of us so much! God brought many of you to your knees praying for Meghan and our family.  Thank you for your endless love, compassion and support to our family and not forgetting about us as time passed by.  

Back in October, Meghan went to her first pumpkin patch—behind a fire station right here in Dearborn.  Many of the firefighters and EMS responders were there raising money for a burn drive.  Many of these firefighters had responded numerous times to our 911 calls for Meghan.  We are forever indebted to these brave men who have saved Meghan’s life numerous times.  We have even become friends with some of these firefighters and their families.   One of these new friends is lieutenant Steve Warden who is the fireman in the pumpkin patch picture with Meghan!  Steve has been to our home many times responding to our 911 phone calls.  He loves little Meghan and I remember him crying when he would transported her to Oakwood Hospital.  We owe so much to our local heroes and pray that God protects them all daily.

Shannon wanted to be Saint Therese for Halloween.  I was golfing one day, and she called me with her great idea!  She and Meghan were “talking” and they decided that Shannon would be Saint Therese and Meghan would be Our Blessed Mary.  So, off to the material store we went and the costumes were created.  And yes, many people asked Shannon to pray for them as she was out trick or treating.  Michael wanted to be a priest – so he was Father Steve Burr.  Father Steve’s short sleeve shirt was just the perfect length to be a long sleeve shirt for Michael!  Doesn’t he look great in a collar?  Lauren decided to go out at the last minute with her girl friend and was a nurse again!

Mike and I have been asked to speak about our faith journey in a few upcoming events and we are inviting you all to attend.  First is the Divine Mercy Conference at Madonna University, in Livonia, Michigan on January 19, 2008.   This is a Spiritual Conference for Healthcare and Lay Workers.  It is open to anyone, especially those called to help the sick, suffering and dying.  It is not just for those individuals in the medical field.  There is an incredible line-up of speakers (and then me).  Please see the attached flier on Meghan’s homepage. Mike and I will also be speaking at the National Marriage Encounter’s Annual Dinner on February 10, 2008, on keeping God in the center of your marriage and rejoicing in all of your sufferings.  I will also be speaking in March at Wayne State University to the current medical students there, encouraging them to become pro-life doctors.  Please feel free to email us through Meghan’s website with any questions you may have on any of these events (www.babymeghan.org). 

May God fill your hearts with joy this Christmas Octave and beyond!  Christ was born in a humble stable to live, teach, suffer and die for our sins and bring us home!  Give praise to Him each day for all the wonderful gifts He showers upon you and your family this year and embrace your sufferings.  Unite your sufferings to Him on the cross.

Ellen Salter

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