Our Trip to the Children’s Hospital

by | Mar 27, 2014 | Holy Rosary, Mount Angel, Priests | 39 comments

Last week, on the Solemnity Feast of St. Joseph, Sean and I headed out of town with our oldest two boys, while my mom watched our five youngest.  We were headed to the children’s hospital five hours away for some testing for our oldest son. The appointment had been rescheduled from the previous Friday since I had been recovering from the flu/infections and my husband had a job interview that particular Friday morning.  Of course God’s timing is always perfect and the change of dates ended up being a blessing.  
We weren’t sure if he would be offered the job or not, but we decided to take the opportunity to look at the surrounding towns and housing options.  It wasn’t a promotion, but moving expenses would be paid and it would bring us closer (though still 45-60 minutes away) to a traditional parish with frequent Latin Masses and a large active homeschool group, in addition to the job being located near two small Classical Catholic schools and many Catholic families. 

We left early hoping to make it to the noon prayers at the Abbey, but we didn’t arrive until 12:15 and just missed them… 
We decided to walk over to the gift shop and on our way we noticed a priest walking towards a building. From the distance it was hard to tell, but we thought it might be Father Theo! He walked into the building but ended up coming out the other side and headed to the gift shop too. He was purchasing a scone – the closest thing he could find to bread for the feast of St. Joseph! – when we walked in! 

It was so nice to be able to sit down and visit with him for awhile and to ask his advice on the possible job and move.  Before we left he gave our oldest a blessing. We sure miss him!

After visiting with Father we spent some time walking the grounds at the Abbey.

Our next stop was at the gorgeous church in town. Someone was cleaning the entry area so it happened to be unlocked and we were able to peek inside.  We had been here before for one of my friends/bridesmaid’s weddings and I just love this church!

Next we stopped for lunch at a local German restaurant before getting back on the road. 
After driving through many more (not nearly as beautiful and way more crowded) towns we stopped at the Lego store to surprise the boys (they picked out a Logging Truck and Camper Van), then went to Rose’s godparents home for dinner and to say hello to our sweet little goddaughter, before heading to the home of another friend for the night.
My friend Alecia happened to have a case of First Class Relics visiting her home, including St. Therese, which we were able to venerate. Captain was able to touch his new medals from the Abbey to the relics and I was able to touch my crucifix and wedding ring (it’s a sacramental after all) to them as well, making them 3rd class relics! 

The next morning bright and early we headed to the hospital.  We were the first appointment of the day in the Speciality Clinic and we didn’t wait long before meeting with the doctor.  
After discussing the past year and symptoms with us, she ordered quite a few tests and sent us to the lab and radiology. She wasn’t sure if radiology would be able to get us in, but she said to remind them how far away we live, and after initially saying no they “squeezed” us in for the 4-5 hour test!  After having him drink a special “milkshake” they took x-rays every 15-30 minutes to watch the drink make it’s way through his digestive tract. 
In between the various x-rays we had lots of time to explore the hospital, which is practically a whole city at the top of the hill.  We walked across the Sky Walk and even rode the Arial Tram! 

The x-rays all went well and they didn’t find any blockages! (We did just receive some abnormal results from the lab and are waiting to hear more from the doctor.)  Just as they were taking the last set of x-rays on Thursday afternoon, Sean had a call offering him the job and giving him only until Monday to make a decision… 
From the hospital we decided to visit the parish I mentioned earlier (the one that has such a wonderful homeschool community) and we called another dear priest who happens to currently be at this parish.  He happened to have a couple hours free and met with us.  My husband has applied for a number of out-of-state jobs over the past 15 years, and has switched jobs locally for various promotions, but this was the first job that he had been offered away from our home and my extended family.  The thought of moving was pretty terrifying for me and it was such a blessing to have the guidance from these holy priests.  There were many pros and cons for either decision – whether to take the job or not – and as Fr. Anderson said either decision would be the right one…. I think I was hoping for something a little clearer. 😉 And when my husband spoke with one of his brother’s the advice he was given was to make the decision based on what we know, not on what “could” happen if we move. We had lots of praying and discerning to do over the next few days! 
We started the drive home, stopping at the state college to take my little brother out to dinner, and got home after midnight on Friday morning.  For some reason the thought of moving was so overwhelming for me (we have lived in this home since before any of our children were born, and it has grown with our family overtime), but after two days of crying and lots of conversations with my husband, mom, and friends, I started to feel at peace with the decision to move.  It could be a fun adventure, right? 
We had been looking at housing options online, and started noticing that not only would the cost of homes be so much more, the property taxes were double, and even triple, what they are here, and it might not be likely that we’d be able to replace the same size of home, let alone find one with any acreage. (In fact one of the options had only a walkway for a backyard, needed to be remodeled, and would still cost more than we could potentially receive for our current home. Another was new, but had huge power lines going through the front yard and a cliff off the back, which wasn’t mentioned or shown online.) One more trip to the area seemed like a good idea.  The three oldest boys went to a friends home and we got up at 4am Sunday morning to attend the 11:00 EF Latin Mass at Holy Rosary.  
Mass was beautiful and it was such a joy to meet so many wonderful families!  We went out to lunch with a few new friends and started thinking that we’d soon be attending Mass here every Sunday.  However as the evening went on and we looked at more and more of the housing options and surrounding towns, and we started to notice just how far of a commute my husband would have if we opted to live near the parish, we decided that without a promotion the higher cost of living and the commutes would just be too challenging.  (Along with all the other pros and cons that factored into our decision.)  So on Monday morning, which happened to be my husband’s birthday, he called and turned down the job… We arrived home Monday night and will be staying here for now, grateful for all we do have here (our friends & family, great tutors to help me with home educating, our home, and a bi-monthly Latin Mass, to mention a few – oh!  and way less rain! lol) and working on the virtue of patience. 
It was encouraging to read in last weekend’s Catholic Sentinel that changes are coming. It gives us hope to read that “Reverent, beautiful, prayerful and worthy celebration of the holy Mass must be the hallmark of every parish community.”
We are so grateful for all the prayers that have been offered for our oldest son and for my husband and I as we worked through all these decisions for our family.  Deo Gratias! 


  1. Alecia Spiering

    You had me on at the edge of my seat while reading your story. Do keep us posted with the outcome with [Captain's] condition. It's sounds like you had a wonderful trip and got to contemplate moving what it would take to bring you out here. Part of me is sad but than it is just not the right circumstances. I always love seeing you and your lovely family. You always have a place to stay anytime you come out this way. God bless you and keep you. Alecia

    2014-03-27 21:38:00

  2. Enter Under My Roof

    What a day you had – I'm glad you were able to reach a decision in the end. Lovely photos – it's as if we were there with you throughout the day!

    2014-03-27 21:50:18

  3. jmjtotustuus

    What a lot to go through and consider. Hoping to hear more about your son's health and keeping you all in prayer.

    2014-03-27 21:51:13

  4. Shaina

    Oh Jessica! What a world-wind week your family had! I was secretly hoping you'd be joining HR's homeschool group here…it's such an amazing group…but I totally understand your decision. We rent a home with a decent backyard (20 minutes from HR parish) and we'd love to buy, but like you, we are "sticker-shocked" at housing prices, property taxes, and lack of land. As much as I'd love you to join our community here, I would much rather live where you are. Do you really have less rain? 😉 Glad your son's scan was clean and I'll be praying for clear results/answers so treatment or other changes may begin so he will be relieved of his symptoms. If you ever travel up hear again, feel free to stay with us. We'd love to have you as our guests. Or if you ever wanted to buy a fixer-upper with acreage, my husband's business is home renovation and he loves doing work for fellow faithful Catholics. 🙂

    2014-03-27 21:56:34

  5. Jessica Gordon

    Thank you again for your hospitality, Alecia! It is always so nice to see you!

    2014-03-27 22:10:47

  6. Erin

    Praying for total peace re your decision. Totally understand your reasoning. Praying for Captain

    2014-03-27 22:24:02

  7. Jenny Panico

    I was on the edge of my seat waiting to hear also your decision too!! Which is amazing because your situation was exact opposite from ours last November when my husband was offered in job in OK. We were living in CA in a very high priced are, with a long commute to our parish and my husband's job. We were in condo for many years.. because 2 bedroom condos with no backyards go for over 240k there. And the job was a promotion, all moving expenses paid, a town close to many parishes including an active Diocese with their youth, latin masses, Catholic Homeschool community, WAY lower housing prices with larger yards, etc. But we did have to leave our family. We decided to move as we knew the Holy Spirit was leading us there. So here we are exploring our new area. It has been an adventure. Please keep us updated on Captain. Do you have a post explaining what is wrong? I think I may have missed it. 🙁

    2014-03-27 22:39:15

  8. Jessica Gordon

    I asked my brother the same question – now that he is at OSU and has lived here too – and he says it rains twice as much! I actually looked up some of the Average Rainfalls and the towns around here seemed to range from 18-35 inches a year compared to 45-65 (65 was for OSU)! That is a LOT more rain!!! It's rainy here this week, but it comes and goes and we've also had sun and blue skies each day too. And thank you for your generous offer! I've had another family offer us a place to stay as well and it is so kind of you all! We do have another appointment scheduled for in May, and then in June I will need to drive the boys up for a camp. Hopefully at some point it will work out to meet you. 🙂

    2014-03-27 22:49:12

  9. Jessica Gordon

    Wow, that is an adventure! It sounds like it has been a blessing for your family! I actually only mentioned what has been going on with our oldest in a Daybook Post (under "I am hoping…" and in the comment box) and on Instagram, and then again briefly on the 12th Birthday Filled with Surprises! (near the top). It would have been easy to miss. Anyways, in January we took him to see his pediatrician for an evaluation and to begin some testing for a reoccurring problem (violently vomiting for hours) he has been having every 1-2 months this past year. His doctor suspects CVS (Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome) but they need to rule out other diseases.

    2014-03-27 23:13:05

  10. Crystal

    Oh Jessica, I am sad you won't be moving up here but I completely understand! We are looking to move as well and it is expensive ( my husband wants land too)it was really nice hanging out with you all. We will keep praying for your oldest son. Our current house is so tiny but when we move May 1st to a hopefully bigger place, we would love to have you all stay with us anytime. Blessings. Crystal

    2014-03-27 23:23:58

  11. JenniferM

    That was a suspenseful post! I'm happy to hear that the decision was made clear for you.

    2014-03-28 01:19:26

  12. Cynthia

    What a wonderful and thoughtful post. I really do believe God must be preparing you for something. And I am relieved to hear that things went well with your son. Quite an eventful Lent you have had !!!

    2014-03-28 01:53:24

  13. Elizabeth C.

    Oh the CA friends miss the Panico family, but love seeing the blessings coming to them now.. Jessica, it sounds like u were on a crazy-emotional roller coaster! God was so good as to provide holy shepherds to meet u along the way. Keeping u, your son, & family in prayer 🙂

    2014-03-28 01:57:16

  14. Patty

    What an amazing story you just posted. Such an emotional trip in more ways than one! It sounds as though you had the Holy Spirit guiding you the entire way. The not knowing, gosh! That can be so hard. But trust and faith is so powerful and will carry you far. All in God's time, right? (And I know you know that.)

    2014-03-28 02:12:37

  15. Angela

    Hi Jessica, I am sad that you will not be joining us up here in the north, but I am happy that you are at peace with your decision and that God made His Will perfectly clear. Yes, the cost of living is high up here. We were looking at houses about a year ago (just want a bit more space and a bit more land) and we never did find anything decent in our price range. It was very disappointing. Continuing to pray for Captain! Next time you are in town, would love to get together for lunch! ~Angela

    2014-03-28 03:01:17

  16. fancyrock

    Same sentiments as all your other readers here "up north"…we would love to have you in our community! but it sure seemed like that would not be the prudent decision. Yes, it is very expensive up here!! :o( You have lots of choices, but I'll be sure to keep the "nut farm b&b" available in May and June just in case you need a place big enough for everyone. (No pressure of course!) :o) Becky ps, what camp in June? My oldest daughter and son are going to Camp H. sometime this summer, is that the one?

    2014-03-28 03:34:14

  17. Jennifer H

    Jessica, what an adventure! Housing and taxes definitely make a difference, but so does family. We stay in a area with one of the highest costs of living in the country just because our entire family is here but we are always looking to see if we should move on. At this point we both believe that God wants us where we are, even if it means a lot of sacrifices to make ends meet. Although, that area sounded absolutely lovely! I would be so wonderful to live by so many Catholic treasures. I am just thrilled that we are finally getting a Latin Mass at all at our church and praying it sticks since we are getting a new pastor this summer. I will continue to pray for all of you. I hope that the lab results will yield an easy to treat diagnosis. (What an incredible hospital that was! Sean was so sweet with the boys in all the pictures you can tell how much he enjoyed getting time with them). Patience is tough but as I learned from Little Flowers "patience is a virtue" is a popular saying because through patience all other virtues flow–how holy we would be if we could just master patience–I'm struggling with it myself! God bless you, it was so good to get a peak into what was going on. I've been checking a couple times a day this week just to see what was up. Take care and welcome home!

    2014-03-28 03:40:29

  18. Christine M.

    Our prayers will continue for your son and family. It seems so difficult to discern God's plan from our own sometimes, doesn't it? It sounds like your family is trusting in Him though, which is most important. Your bishop sounds great! Perhaps these changes will lead to more frequent Latin Masses for your family where you live now. Prayers will continue for that intention as well. Our family prays for very similar intentions—Latin Mass (FSSP would be an added bonus of course), moving to a great Catholic parish/community, acreage to raise our family. I always have to remember God will provide and knows His plan, even when I don't. Patience is so hard! May this Lenten season find your family blessed, healthy, and at peace. God bless!

    2014-03-28 03:40:58

  19. Sarah Damm

    Oh my goodness! You have been going through SO much! Thank you for sharing your trip to the hospital with all of the wonderful, beautiful stops along the way. I pray that the doctors will be able to figure out what is going on with your son, and that there are treatments to alleviate what is causing this. I know what it is like to discern moving, not so far away, but even in our own area. It is hard! {We are going through it right now … again.} It sounds like you reached a peaceful decision, with the help of all those prayers and tears and saintly relics! God bless you and your beautiful family!

    2014-03-28 04:02:34

  20. Jamie Jo

    Wow Jessica!! First, I"m so glad your son is OK…hoping and praying you figure out what is wrong though. That is so hard. I love the advice you got, making the decision on what you KNOW and not on what "could" happen… God is good. He made the decision easy for you. I'm happy you were able to discern this for your family. You and your family are in my prayers.

    2014-03-28 05:43:11

  21. Cassandra

    I've been wondering what you have been up to, since we haven't heard much in the last couple weeks! I, for one, am glad to hear that you are staying where you are, at least for a while longer. The cost of living outside of these more rural areas is just so much for larger families, given our unique needs. I think it means we will be staying where we are for a while, too, even though I am already starting to feel 'stuck' here, in certain ways. BUT, as one of my friends was always known to say, and told me before I last moved, we are called to be where we are, and we should grow where we are planted. Your family continues to be in my prayers.

    2014-03-28 06:37:03

  22. Jenny Panico

    Elizabeth, We miss you too!!!! I think and pray for you all always. I still get the Holy Families emails and it brings a smile on my face every time. Send warm regards to everyone!

    2014-03-28 14:04:21

  23. Jenny Panico

    Now that you mention it, I do remember that. I am blaming my pregnancy brain for forgetting. We will be praying for captain, you and your family! This must be quite an emotional ordeal to go through. 🙂

    2014-03-28 14:06:03

  24. Jessica Gordon

    We had such a nice time visiting with you and your family after Mass, Crystal! If you ever want to get out of the city and take a road trip our way we'd love to have you all visit! 🙂

    2014-03-28 15:51:01

  25. Jessica Gordon

    Thank you, Becky! I so appreciated your thoughtful email on Monday and have been meaning to email you back. 🙂 I'll pop over to gmail now.

    2014-03-28 16:22:40

  26. Jessica Gordon

    Thank you Jamie! I'm praying for you and your family too! The x-rays were just the first test of (potentially) many, as they work through eliminating one possibility at a time… I still haven't gotten to talk to the doctor about the abnormal lab results, which has Sean and I worried, so I just sent the doctor an email. I guess the next testing may require sedation, so please continue to keep him in your prayers.. I know you can relate!

    2014-03-28 23:44:40

  27. scmom4

    You've had quite a few weeks, Jessica. I pray for answers for your son's health. And you did your part and received answers to prayers about a move. Feel at peace for that. It just was not meant to be, but God has a plan and it will be revealed in His time. Now, rest. Enjoy these weeks leading up to Easter. PS I bet your lipstick looked great through it all!

    2014-03-28 12:53:33

  28. Bernadette

    Thank you for sharing what has been going on with your family. You have all been in my prayers, and will continue to be. God bless you! 🙂

    2014-03-28 14:34:04

  29. Jessica Gordon

    Ha! I don't know about that! Between the flu, late nights/early mornings, traveling, and tears I've pretty much looked a mess most of the time and have been very thankful for my sunglasses! 😉

    2014-03-28 23:51:08

  30. heathermama3

    Thank you for the beautiful post! I hope that you are able to figure out what is going on with Captain! We'll pray for him!

    2014-03-28 14:44:37

  31. Betsy M

    Hi Jessica, praying for your son to feel better. I can completely understand your reasoning for staying. Say, can I ask what church that is where you were bridesmaid? I am almost certain that it is the same architect who built the "Cathedral of the Prairie" in my little hometown in Hoven, SD. Some of the stained glass windows are even the same! http://hemmelman.zenfolio.com/p528786853/h5E2EE0C… Funny how "shocking" it is to find such a similar church to your own on the other side of the country.

    2014-03-28 14:57:35

  32. Ellie

    Poor Captain! Continuing to hold you all in my prayers. My son, just turning 12, has had a full year of Chilren's hospital specialists and tests and all the attendent emotional strain. He's been diagnosed with failure to thrive and adrenal insufficiency and there are still unknowns … it's been difficult! I empathize with you. God is with us every step of the way, and there is tremendous comfort, strength and grace in that …

    2014-03-28 15:58:16

  33. dena

    Dear Jessica, It really sounds like you made the right decision. Thank you for sharing the advice re: decision making based on what you know and not what could happen. That is VERY helpful. I enjoy your posts very much and find them very helpful and educational.

    2014-03-28 19:08:51

  34. rosalie

    Thank you for sharing your Journey with us..prayers continue for Captains good Health…

    2014-03-28 20:22:54

  35. Jessica Gordon

    Sorry for the confusing wording in the post – I actually just attended the wedding (with my husband and 5 children at the time) of one of OUR friends/bridesmaids 🙂 It had been years since I had seen her and such a joy to be there for her special day in such a beautiful church! Thanks for sharing the link to the Cathedral of the Prairie! It is GORGEOUS! <3 According to St. Mary's website "Engelbert Gier, the architect, a member of the parish, learned his trade in Germany. is brother Emil carved the two large Gothic shrines in the transept. Local carpenters and brick layers built the edifice. Bricks were made on site with a hand mold which pressed five bricks at a time…The church, designed and build in the Revival Gothic style is laid out in the form of a Latin Cross. " Some of the windows were made in Germany, some here in our state, and the rest were from Emil Frei Glass Company of St. Louis, Missouri (so they very well could be the same)! You can find the Virtual Tour here and additional details here.

    2014-03-29 00:05:59

  36. Jessica Gordon

    I'm so sorry! I remember clicking over to your blog and offering a prayer for your family, though I can't remember if I left a comment or not… Offering another prayer for you and your son right now!

    2014-03-29 00:10:13

  37. Valerie

    Dear Jessica, I am sending prayers your way. We went through months and months of exams and medical tests for my oldest son this past year and finally got a diagnosis of Celiac disease this January. He was not a 'typical' case( although we learned from the specialists that he did fit the picture more than his pediatricians thought). Because among other things he is very tall and barely had any GI issues. I pray that your family finds an answer very soon. May God bless you all.

    2014-03-29 19:37:49

  38. katie

    What a lovely trip (Although a little harrowing at the same time). I hope you get answers soon! We'll pray for Captain!

    2014-03-31 18:56:14

  39. Terra

    Hi, this is my first visit here and I am trying to comment. Just want to tell you I enjoyed your story about your family weighing the pros and cons of moving, and the photos of the beautiful churches, and of your handsome guys. I hope all the testing shows your son to be healthy.

    2014-04-10 04:21:53


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Father in heaven, grant me the grace to appreciate the dignity which you have conferred on me. Let me realize that not even the Angels have been blessed with such a privilege—to share in your creative miracle and bring new Saints to heaven. Make me a good mother to all my children after the example of Mary, the Mother of your Son. Through the intercession of Jesus and Mary I ask your continued blessings on my family. Let us all be dedicated to your service on earth and attain the eternal happiness of your kingdom in heaven. Amen.

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Hi! I'm Jessica, a Roman Catholic wife and home educating mother to our nine children. I was home educated myself, along with my eleven younger siblings. I have a special devotion to St. Therese, through whom I have been given much help and many blessings--the beautiful "Shower of Roses" that she has sent my way! Here I will record a few of the blessings I treasure. Please remember that what you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness.

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