Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Another late night, another short post. We had our Lenten Mass at school today. One of my fellow new teachers offered to start a choir for the girls earlier this year. She's put in time and energy, and as is typical of our girls, their commitment has been spotty and shaky. It's so frustrating. It's so difficult to feel like your time and effort means anything when you have a regular meeting and a different 2 girls show up every time (though 10 find you in the hall to say they want to join your fill-in-the-blank club).

But she had a good little choir today--though apparently some of them had never been to one rehearsal. And she picked some more obscure songs, but all had great beat and were more contemporary than some of the traditional (though lovely) Catholic hymns you'd normally hear at a school liturgy. She ended with a spiritual called "Change My Name." Well, wouldn't you know that all 350 girls in the school suddenly stopped some of their whispering and began snapping their fingers and dancing in their seats.

It is the power of music. Music has always been important to me, but in the last seven or eight years, I need some music every day. Maybe that has to do with the advent of the iPod, I don't know, but I do know that I notice music more too. I'm more likely to keep tuning in to a TV show that has good music (of course, that means iTunes gets more of my $!) and I sing to myself more than I care to admit. Music is a mood setter--and a mood changer. It connects with us on basic and primal level. There are very few songs or artists that I'm "eh" about. I find that I have very strong gut reactions to music--I really like or love it, or I really want to get as far away from it as possible and never hear it again.

Music is prayer. It is meditation. It clears my head, centers me, lets me think. It can make me smile and it can make me cry.

I could write for hours and pages about music. I mean, I'm writing right now because of music. Music led me to a fantabulous folk festival, which led me to a cozy living room full of friends and fellow writers. It was there that I gained the courage to put myself out into the world, it is there that I found parts of myself I never knew existed. It is in that space that I heard dear friends sing songs for the very first time, many of which live on my iPod now--which means I have my friends in my pocket.

To wrap up this post, here's a little Townes Van Zandt for you...a song I downloaded last night and have been listening to it almost non-stop ever since:

If I needed you, would you come to me?
Would you come to me for to ease my pain?
If you needed me, I would come to you.
I would swim the sea for to ease your pain.

Monday, March 29, 2010

timecards, timecards, yellow timecards

I can't stay tonight. I am in yellow timecard hell. My seniors must complete 140 hours of service--5 hours every Wednesday--in order to graduate. We track their progress using yellow timecards that their supervisors must sign on-site. Sounds easy...but the things are evil. Some are turned in late, others not at all; I chase girls up and down the hallways hoping to squeeze the things out of them. I feel like a parole officer sometimes--checking for forgeries (yup, I've found at least one) and recognizing chronic lateness. What should be (and is) a wonderful, life-giving project becomes an albatross.

Must go count hours!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

two and a half days

So much for devoting more time to an entry today. I need to get through the next 2 1/2 days, and I'm free (at least for a week and a half!)...I will be on Easter break. The next 2.5 days are packed with to do lists that mostly have to do with service, and a school Mass on Tuesday, but then I can breathe a big sigh of relief. Time for bed so I can maybe get up and out early and buckle down for the day.

(I'm also behind on my homework for my photography class. Argh. And of course, it's going to be raining tomorrow!)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

one more week...

...of Lent that is. A week from tomorrow (today, technically) is Easter Sunday. I'm trying to figure out what I've learned from this Lenten practice. There are some days that I'm proud of what I wrote, while others got very little of my attention and focus. The lesson is that probably, going forward, I'll come up with an idea for an entry and spend a few days building it instead of rushing to write something every day.

But more importantly and more to the point, I think I realized that, for me, writing has become a social activity and I find it difficult when I'm alone. For 4 years, I wrote almost exclusively in the presence of others. There was an energy in the room, a buzz of productivity and creativity. When I'm alone in my apartment, I cannot recreate that environment. Even when I am writing something to share with my teleclass, something I know will turn into a social activity, I can't find a rhythm or a groove. Maybe practice will help? I've forced myself to write something on this page almost every day for the last 5 weeks, even if it is at 1 A.M. when I'm supposed to be sleeping...

Which it is, and I am. More tomorrow, I hope, if I don't break or sprain something playing in my first basketball game.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Micah 6:8

What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

love and basketball

March is my favorite month of the year. I usually forget that it's my favorite month, but then Selection Sunday rolls around and I remember. 3 weeks of basketball...3weeks of buzzer beaters and overtime and Cinderella stories. Do I care about Butler or Syracuse? No. But was I practically jumping up and down tonight watching the end of that game? Absolutely!! Do I care that my bracket is dead in the water? Not at all.

As NCAA ref (and family friend) Timmy Higgins likes to say, "And that's why they play the games!"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

fall in love

what you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. it will decide what gets you out of bed in the mornings, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you.

fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.
- pedro arrupe,s.j.

I can't remember when I first heard this quote, but I'm pretty sure it factored into my sophomore year experience with the Spiritual Exercises--a 5-day silent retreat based on the 30-day silent retreat all Jesuits participate in at least twice during their formation.

Find the thing that sets your heart and soul on fire. Find that calling, that vocation, that spark.

I feel like my entire college experience centered around this central truth--to find what I loved and pursue it. And I did. Whether it was a spring break trip to Mississippi to build houses with Habitat, or a retreat weekend on Cape Cod, or choosing to major in sociology rather than something more "practical," I embraced my passions at in college. The community created the space for me to explore and discover and dig in.

I've done it in my post-college ("real") life too--I taught 2nd grade for three years and it was the definition of the thing I loved getting me out of bed every morning. The experience wounded me and my spirit in other ways, but inside that classroom, surrounded by those kids, I was safe and happy and full of joy.

And now I pursue the love of God and faith and service and justice. It is a love that was nurtured and encouraged during those college years, and a vocation that was modeled by wonderful, strong, compassionate women. All the roads have led me here, to these 350 girls, to the unique challenges and obstacles posed by my current position.

Now, it's a matter of keeping the fire alive and the love fresh. Sometimes it's easy to get bogged down with the bad days or the frustrations of the job. Some days, the girls' negativity and attitude rubs off and I wonder what I'm doing here. But I always come back to the love, to the fact that I do believe I am supposed to be doing this, to the fact that even after a hard day, the girls are what get me out of bed at that ungodly hour of the morning.

Campus ministry is this nebulous position--it usually involves some combination of teaching religion, organizing retreats, overseeing service, and preparing the masses and prayer services for the school. In my case, I am responsible for all 4 and then some. The revolving door of campus ministers before me have left little upon which to build. So I'm starting from the ground up--which is both exciting and overwhelmingly terrifying. I'm almost through the year--I've almost survived one cycle. There are things to change, things to improve, things to overhaul, and things that I simply need to execute better. I've spent a good part of the last two weeks talking to other campus ministers in other places and it has been comforting to discover we're all in similar boats.

(Who am I kidding? We're not in boats...we're in dinghies...no, more like homemade Lost-style rafts!)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

wrung out

That is how I feel this evening. I'm ready to go to bed, and just realized that I stripped, but did not remake, the bed. Joy of joys. Off to correct that situation. I'll try to devote more time here tomorrow night. Until then, the bridge to the song I consider a sort of anthem for me...I needed to hear it a few times today:

yesterday's girl, the sun is shining
yesterday's girl, you can sit still
yesterday's girl, here is your coffee
yesterday's girl, i'll pay your bill
yesterday's girl, you're looking lovely
yesterday's girl, you're looking strong
yesterday's girl, please look around you:
you are right where you belong!
~n. nields

Monday, March 22, 2010

photography class

I'm back from a visit to the Pioneer Valley that included time sitting on my butt, yelling at the TV, and marveling at the Madness, as well as time in the company of great friends. It recharged my batteries a little bit--hopefully enough to get me through the next week and a half til Easter break.

Tonight, I started a photography class. I've loved pictures for as long as I can remember. I used to pour over my grandmothers' photo albums, looking at pictures of my parents, aunts, and uncles as kids and young adults. My mom doesn't so much keep pictures in albums, but there were boxes overflowing with pictures of my childhood that I'd rediscover several times a year.

During my senior year in college, I decided to buy myself a good SLR camera as a birthday/graduation present to myself. I shot countless rolls of film on that camera and it traveled with me to Cape Cod, Los Angeles, the Grand Canyon, San Francisco and Ireland. I love holding pictures in my hands, so I didn't rush into the digital age. About 3 years ago, I finally bought myself a digital camera and immediately fell in love. I could shoot endless photos and not worry about the cost of developing the duds. I enjoyed my trusty Olympus, but missed the weight of the SLR, so a year or so ago, I bought my beloved Nikon D40 and took the well-loved blue and yellow guitar strap off of my film SLR and clipped it onto the Nikon.

Before tonight, I'd never taken a photography class...I shoot in auto mode 95% of the time and know that my camera is capable of more than I get out of it. I think this class will be good for me--I know what the buttons on my camera do!

I don't know what it is about taking pictures, but I love it. I love capturing the things and places in my life at a certain moment, and more than that, I love capturing the people I love, just as they are, just as I love them. I want to pass along the history, let my own kids find boxes filled with pictures of me, their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. It's meditative for me too--just me and my camera, looking for the next great shot.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

away for the weekend

Tomorrow afternoon, I am heading to my favorite little spot in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts. I will watch a lot of basketball, spend time with wonderful friends, hear some great music, and play with a couple of adorable kids. The weather has been glorious over the past two days and it is supposed to continue through the weekend. Should be great. I will continue to write every day...just on paper for the next few.

While Lent is about repentance, but it's also about new life. And these last few days? The sunshine, the warm breezes, the light in the sky at 8 pm? I feel it coming.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

long day, sleepy now

I am a lucky girl. I work with a bunch of people whose company I truly enjoy. We have a friendly neighborhood bartendress who takes great care of us. I have fantastic cousins who invite me to hang out and meet up and chat. These are the things for which I am grateful today.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Éirinn go Brách!

I wrote earlier this week about my mixed feelings re: St. Patrick's Day. It's true that I will spend time tomorrow thinking about my friend and his family, remembering the week after that tragic St. Patrick's Day--the friendships formed that live on today.

But there is the Irishwoman--the Kerrywoman--in me too. There is the girl who went to Ireland when she was 5 years old and climbed onto the back of a horse for the first time, falling in love. There are the stories of my great-grandmother, running in and out of the cliff caves along the beach in Ballybunion. There is the big, loud, loving, fabulous family that is her legacy--cousins who are among my closest friends. There is the part of me that longs to go home again, to explore beyond my home counties of Kerry and Clare (while the other part of me just wants to stay in those places and relish my family and the history). I love the legends, the stories, the crazy roads, the fog, the cold water, the green fields, the brogue (oh, the brogue!), the colorful homes, the names (Grainne! Mairead! Maeve! Conor! Seamus! Aoife! Ciaran!).

I love the story of St. Patrick too--an alien in Ireland who became THE legend of this land full of legends. He was a teacher, a man of faith, and a servant. He embraced his mission and trusted in God's plan, even when it wasn't easy. Not a bad model to follow!

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, and in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

Monday, March 15, 2010


What are you putting off that would contribute significantly to your well being?
~Tough Question from When I Grow Up

The title says it all. I am an expert. I am a master. No matter the challenge, task, or opportunity, I will leave it until the last possible moment.

How would doing things on-time or even (*gasp*) early (*the horrors!*) contribute to my well being? I think it would cut down on my stress. I would feel more confident in my teaching, in my job, in my life. My apartment would be less cluttered and there would be less piles.

There is a thrill, a rush, a determination in the last-minute scramble, but I know that some things could be better, deeper, richer if I gave them more time. It's a life-long battle and I occasionally make headway. I will keep trying.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

St. Patrick's Day week

This is a weird week. We celebrate St. Patrick--patron saint of Ireland and the Archdiocese. As someone who is very proud of her Irish ancestry and legacy, I love to wear my green. I used to teach my 2nd graders about the trinity during this week--about how the Irish people didn't understand when Patrick told them that there are 3 persons in one God, and so he plucked a shamrock from the field and taught them how three things could exist in one. This Wednesday, I will wear my Gaelic football jersey with pride and raise a glass to my homeland among friends.

But, for the last9 years, St. Patrick's Day has also carried with it a heavy weight. My dear friend from college lost his twin brother to a drunk driver on St. Patrick's Day 2001. I still think of him often, especially because in the days following his death, we were able to read some of his writing--a window into his heart and soul. I copied down a paragraph he'd titled "Statement of Life Aspirations" and I carry it with me from place to place. Never before had I seen such a clear articulation of my own goals and desires. And finally, I am closer than I've ever been to living them.

"to touch the life of a person, to help them see the world in a better light, to enable them to live a fuller, more productive life; i would like to do something like this. i am searching for a profession that will enable me to inspire, to help, to enlighten, to leave my mark on the human race. i will live a full and vibrant life, doing whatever i see fit, not conforming, not rejecting...my life will belong to me and it will be great not for the fame and fortune i receive, but for the lives i help change an the happiness i achieve."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

spring ahead

I don't like this weekend. I lose an hour of my life tonight! An hour of sleep, an hour of cleaning, an hour of lazing on the couch...the horrors! But, it does mean that spring is coming. It has been raining in bucketfuls for the last 36 or so hours in NYC. I am annoyed...there were some beautiful days this week and I was trapped in a stuffy school building and now that I have time, it's cold, wet, and dreary. This rain brings new life though...this rain means that the grey tree branches will burst with green life in a matter of weeks. Central Park, which has grown brown and soggy beneath feet of snow, will be green as the Irish countryside once again.

Spring will bring daylight...more opportunity for afternoon walks in the park, more chances to wander down the East River to Battery Park, more time to explore the many neighborhoods of this tiny, huge city. I'm playing in a basketball league this spring, and taking a photography class.

It is no coincidence that Easter falls in this time of new life--of growth, rebirth, and opportunity. I'm hoping to find some new life of my own.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

You are a child of the universe
no less than the rees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
~~excerpts from Desiderata~~

Speak your truth quietly and clearly...
What is campus ministry if not the opportunity to do just this--speak the truth of your faith to your students. And yet, it is something I am having trouble doing in this job. It is a challenge, of course, to articulate one's personal faith in the context of a larger religious tradition. But I want to find a way to do this...to help my girls explore their faith by sharing my own.

And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should...
Oh, this. Yes. How hard is it? To trust that things are going as they should? Even in the face of uncertainty or evidence to the contrary? But it is. It is. We humans are prone to living in the past and the future, while missing the present. Our challenge is to embrace and live in the present...to enjoy the moment without regretting the past (or trying to recapture it) or worrying about the future.

...it is still a beautiful world...
Look around...the Hudson River, the Atlantic Ocean, the smile of a friend, the giggle of a child, the world through your camera lens, a beer after work, the blue sky on a spring day, the kindness of a stranger, peanut butter m&ms, the Rocky Mountains, the Irish countryside, the Grand Canyon, and falling snow. Despite the disappointments and obstacles, the world is full of joy, beauty and opportunity.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

progress not perfection

I just finished up a batch of progress reports. The title phrase is one my principal at the elementary school used to use when I got frustrated--with the students or with myself. I try to remind myself of its truth now and then. Yes, there is frustration in the fact that one kid turned in only one journal out of 4 on time, but she handed me the late 3 today! Yes, AT grumped her way through class today and looked like she wanted to kill me, but I got a smile as she walked past me at the end of the day and she even laughed when I suggested she try a different side of the bed tomorrow morning. Yes...teenagers--a gift and a curse.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

sacred space

We are putting an addition onto our school. There will be a chapel in the new wing--something we've never had before. So, we had a meeting today about how we'd use the chapel and what we'd like the space to look like. Just among the nine of us at the table, there was a range of theologies, spiritualities, and religious beliefs. We all agreed that the chapel needed to be a sacred space for students and faculty. But how does one create a sacred space? What is required to make that chapel space sacred? A tabernacle? A cross? An altar? Pews? Chairs? Throw pillows? Tapestries?

I began thinking about spaces and places that have been sacred for me. I can think of five off the top of my head--and they are all sacred for such different reasons.

1. My college chapel. It is enormous and grand, but simple and not at all ornate. I remember my first mass there in the spring of my senior year of high school. I remember being in awe of the fact that a woman preached the homily--a woman who became a mentor, guide, and friend over the years. The chapel was where I gathered with my friends to pray and to be in community.

2. In that same vein, the little house that housed our chaplains' office is sacred to this day. In that building, we shared our stories, we shared meals, we shared of ourselves. We laughed and we cried and we grew in our faith. Who we were in that space made it sacred. I washed countless dishes in that kitchen; I sat for countless hours on couches and listened to my friends pour our their hearts; I poured out my own; I prepared for retreats and spring break trips; I prepared to go to Mexico there; and I formed some of my most meaningful friendships.

3. Tototopec, Mexico. During an immersion trip after my sophomore year, we drove up to a little town in the mountains called Tototopec. We jammed into the flatbed of a pickup truck--sitting on laps 3-deep. We were greeted by the townspeople with confetti and song--and the biggest meal you'd ever seen. After lunch, we played basketball with the youth group, and we ended the day by gathering around a large cross in the center of town. There, we held hands and prayed the Our Father/Padre Nuestro--everyone in their native tongue. I remember thinking, even in that moment, that *this* was holy ground.

4. My church in L.A. When I lived in Los Angeles, there weren't a lot of good things in life. But I found this youth group that was looking for young adult volunteers. I had no idea that answering an email would lead me to my "home" in that strange city. The 5:30 mass is one of the most amazing worship services you will ever attend. The church is packed (you need to be there by 5 to find parking) and there's overflow in a little parish building next door (mass is on TV) with people of every race and sexual orientation. Mass is always 90 minutes long and no one leaves early. When the music begins, it starts with drums and electric guitars and the most amazing voice you will ever hear on a cantor. The pastor is dynamic and engaged--he wants his parish to be your home. You leave feeling like you've been to church, not like you've simply gone through the motions. It was one of my safest spaces in LA for 3 years.

5. The living room of the big yellow Victorian I mentioned in yesterday's post. In this space, you can be naked and exposed (metaphorically speaking) and it's ok. You put yourself out there and know that you are going to be caught by the amazing souls who share the space with you. It is sacred because of the bonds and friendships forged in the room. It is sacred for the last weekend spent with a dear, funny, bold, beautiful friend. It is sacred for the stories and songs and poems that are written within its walls, and the courage those walls offer. You can begin to heal there--to tell your story and put it behind you.

Someone in the meeting today commented that places are sacred because of the people who have inhabited them before you and left pieces of their spirits behind. It's so true of my 5 sacred spaces...and I love that I am part of their legacies.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

tough question

Courtesy of my friend D, today's entry comes from When I Grow Up's tough question of the day:

Where do you blossom?

**in the living room (and kitchen and music room and bedrooms and porch and yard) of a big yellow house in the Pioneer Valley
**in the car with the windows open and my favorite music blasting
**with a camera in my hand
**around almost any kid under the age of 10 on the planet
**walking in the city on a sunny day
**in the Irish countryside
**in the presence of good friends
**on a sun- (or rain-) soaked field in July, surrounded by music & friends
**in the ocean

These are the places I feel free to be myself, to say whatever comes to mind, to tilt my head or wrap my arms around my knees or sing out loud. When I'm in these spaces, I feel free to take a risk, jump off a cliff, be creative. They are my "happy places"--on a bad day, or in the face of an ugly confrontation, I close my eyes and picture that warm, safe living room, or the crashing waves of the ocean...and use those images to propel me forward into the next step.

How about you? Where do *you* blossom?

(p.s. This question makes me start to hum Edelweiss!)

Monday, March 8, 2010


I gave my seniors a version of the Myers-Briggs personality test in their service reflection class today. 48 questions answered either a. or b. revealed all. When they finished, I handed each of them a 2-page summary of their four-letter personality type. And let the freak-outs commence. "Miss, how do they know?!" "This is totally ME!" They grabbed the papers out of each other's hands, "Oh my gosh! This is YOU!"

I remember taking the M-B for the first time, and feeling the same way. Today, I tested as a strong ENFP, though I used to get ENFJ and the description feels more accurate. According to the personalitypages description, ENFJ's:

*are people-focused individuals. They live in the world of people possibilities.

*have the tendency to be hard on themselves and turn to dark thoughts when alone.

*tend to define their life's direction and priorities according to other people's needs, and may not be aware of their own needs.

*may feel quite lonely even when surrounded by people. This feeling of aloneness may be exacerbated by the tendency to not reveal their true selves.

*do not like dealing with impersonal reasoning. They don't understand or appreciate its merit, and will be unhappy in situations where they're forced to deal with logic and facts without any connection to a human element.

*get their best satisfaction from serving others.

*may have difficulty making good decisions, and may rely heavily on other people in decision-making processes.

Yup, yup, yup, yup...that would be me! The good, the bad, and the ugly...all true for me. One of my girls scored "The Mechanic," which is ISTP. She realized that we scored as polar opposites. "That makes a lot of sense, doesn't it, Miss?" Ha! Considering the two of us butt heads on almost a daily basis? Yes, yes it does make sense!

It was great to see the girls come alive today. The reflection class for service is one of those "whatever you want it to be" classes, and I've struggled to ground it in something concrete. Considering they are at the same service site every Wednesday, there are only so many conversations we can have about their struggles and successes. I'm hoping that we can sort of sink our teeth into the types the next time we meet (keeping the momentum for 2 weeks will be hard--I only meet with them every other cycle). How does their personality type help them at their service site? How does it hinder them? What does it tell them to work on? To celebrate?

I am certainly reminded that while it is wonderful to serve others, to be considerate of their needs, I also must remember to put myself first now and then. I need to remember that I can't always do what's best for everyone else, and I shouldn't beat myself up over it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


...there is never enough and it is always running away. I feel like Alice's White Rabbit..."I'm late! I'm late!" Time got away from him as it gets away from me. I am in danger of following it down the rabbit hole. Time management has never been a strength of mine. This job of campus minister and service program coordinator means that many of my days are unstructured--and I need to get a lot of things done, but they have ambiguous deadlines. I've found that even if my schedule is more open, my day still comes in 40 minute chunks, a slave to the bells that signal the end of one period and the beginning of the next. As I said earlier this week, I am a great list-maker. So I make lists of all the tasks I must accomplish in a week--I even assign the tasks to a day of the week. Yet, more often than not, the week ends and nothing is crossed off the list!

OK, time to get to bed. In the morning, I make lists! I promise to dedicate more time to this blog this week...to manage my time in a way that allows this blog to get my energy before midnight!

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Listen to the MUSTN'T, child,
Listen to the DON'Ts
Listen to the SHOULDN'Ts
the WON'Ts
Listen to the NEVER HAVEs
Then listen close to me--
Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be.
--Shel Silverstein

I love this poem. It is a tall order...anything can happen, child, anything can be. This is wisdom and truth that I find challenging to accept for myself. For my friends? My family? My students? For them, this is my message...and I mean it. I'm not as good at letting this advice settle in my own heart and mind.

But it is true. In the face of doubt, difficulties and frustrations, there is a voice that says, Go for it. You can do it. Try.

It has become a running theme here on this blog, but it is because I need the reminder! We can do it, all of us! It's already inside us.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Friday came! ...and went! It's been a hectic couple of weeks and I'm glad to have a weekend.

And yes, that is my cop-out post for the day!

forgot to post last night...

I had it on my mind, but didn't get there. Oops. I'm off on retreat with 90+ sophomores for the day. I have an amazing little team of juniors and seniors who are going to make this a great day for the 10th grade. Days like this are the ones where I love my job!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I have a list of topics I want to tackle with this blog...but they all require time, and I always wind up turning to this blog just before or just after midnight, so time is not on my side. I'm an expert list-maker. To Do lists are my thing...but when it comes to crossing things off those lists? Not so much. I procrastinate, I get distracted, I do a million unnecessary things in favor of what needs to be done. And then I try not to beat myself up over it.

Maybe if I publish the list (and invite those 4 of you who read to give me feedback on what you want to hear), I'll get to the posts someday soon:

catholic social teaching


conflict (faith v. church)



lent v advent


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

be yourself

I went to a wake tonight...a traditional Catholic wake in many ways--flowers, prayer cards, chairs arranged in rows for the prayer service, (open) casket along one wall. My coworkers and I entered and greeted our colleague and friend with hugs and sympathies...and then we heard it.

"Out of the doorway the bullets rip to the sound of the beat, yeah...another one bites the dust!"

His kids had made a playlist of their father's favorite songs, and had the ipod speakers plugged into the corner. As I approached the casket, I realized that the music wasn't the only unconventional part of this set-up. He was wearing a royal blue New York Giants jersey with Notre Dame, NY Yankees, and Giants baseball caps lined up beside him. No doubts about whose funeral this was--who this man was. His family had the courage and the good sense to make this a celebration of his life.

It made me think--about my own true self, about the censoring I do of myself, about that fear that I'm not enough. I can't let people know that I like this music, or that TV show...I'm even reluctant to talk about the many reasons I love my job. I have a hard time talking about it with my girls even--relaying my own experience of faith, my own experience of role models. I withdraw from the threat of judgment.

And then I see a celebration of life so true to someone's life and I pause. Who cares? He was who he was, why be self-conscious? Why be ashamed? When I see other people embrace their true selves, I'm proud of them and I am drawn to their confidence--maybe hoping to steal a piece of it for myself.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Today Lord I choose life,
I choose your love and the challenge to live it and share it,
I choose hope, even in moments of darkness,
I choose faith, accepting you as Lord and God,
I choose to let go of some part of my burdens, day by day handing them over to you,
I choose to take hold of your strength and power ever more deeply in my life.
May this truly be for me a time of new life, of change, challenge and growth.
May I come to Easter with a heart open to dying with you
and rising to your new life, day by day.


We wake up each morning with a choice. We get to choose how we will greet the day, how we will meet it's challenges and it's triumphs. It's easy to move through life without thinking about that choice--to wake up bright-eyed on Tuesdays and Fridays and grumpy on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. It is easy to let the events of the day control my mood. I'm going to try to remember that it is a choice--and choose hope, love, faith and life. This season is about moving through life deliberately and consciously, aware of the gift of life we have been given and the responsibility that comes along with that gift. I'll report in on Friday!