This is my Camino. Welcome.

Back in the saddle CONTINUED

More reflections from 2018 ahead!

  • Questions from here
  • Previous answers here

16. What was your biggest disappointment?
I went on a reallllll lousy date. Does that count? I had high expectations, but was instead treated like an after-thought. ‘Tis unfortunate but true.

Then I re-enacted the aforementioned event to my girlfriends, dramatically, until they laughed and laughed. (Then I felt bad and confessed this, and the priest said, “Honestly, he probably deserved it.” Then I laughed about that for days, too.)

Also I was a part of a professional project where I was mocked and belittled, I think a large part because of my gender, so that felt like snot-ville, population: Nell.

I used that air balloon to exit Snotville.

17. What was your biggest regret?
So, mere days before leaving for Ireland, I had an anxiety attack over everything. In the weeks prior, I had several major events to coordinate at work, narrowly avoided three car accidents, had to file a police report for battery, plus the priest scandals were beginning to break. I, too, was at the breaking point. And I didn’t know what to do. So I went to Ireland. And, as I mentioned before, it was a mistake. I really should have gone somewhere quiet and calm, away from things instead of into them. I’m still not fully recovered from any of it, and I wish I at least had some vacation time to take…which I don’t.


18. What would you be happy to do all over again?
One night a year, the Archbishop has a huge fundraiser, and tickets are like $200 a seat, which is super expensive, but my boss usually buys a table, and he did, and he offered tickets to the staff, and I wore a dress I bought at a secondhand store going out of business I.e. that thing was like $30, but it was stunning.

It’s a mixture of chiffon-layers, floor-length, and in colors like sea glass, mostly green, but with some blue. At that point of the year, my hair, dyed purple for Lent, had faded to a similar shade, and I curled my hair and wore long earrings of green stones, dangling to my shoulders.

The dress looked great, and I looked great, and the swirled Grecian arm-band around my bicep looked great, and my makeup looked great, and I knew it and so did everyone else in that ballroom, by golly. (But…$30!!!!). And there was food and music and friends and the night-air on the terrace was perfect and there was even some dancing and, at the end of the night, someone gave me the flowers from the table, so I gave one to the valet, and I saw it carrying it home with him.

Flowers. Night. Music. Sea-glass dress wherein I looked like a goddess.

So, that was fun.

If you ever have a chance to be one of the best-dressed women in a room…go for it.

(Also, there are no pictures of this, so you must believe me).

(And then I left my shoe behind…..just kidding. That’s a different story).

19. What act of kindness is most imprinted on your mind?
It’s interesting how this is most marked by the lows, isn’t it? I.e. kindness shines brighter in the midst of dark valleys.

Days after the priest-scandal broke into the news, my pastor called me on the phone. This isn’t the pastor I work for, this is the pastor at the church I “attend” (bless him, I work many weekends, and travel on the others, so I’m not always present at those Masses). He’s a professor at the seminary, also spiritually directs most of the seminarians. He oversees a parish, a house for those transitioning out of the prison system, and one of Detroit’s few crisis pregnancy centers. He has a passion for the city, so he slowly buys the houses in the neighborhood of the parish, has them redone, and sells them at a helpful price to families he know could use a reliable home. I.e. this man is no slouch. And he called me, to see how I was doing. It was an act of very beautiful compassion, so markedly caring.

Also, the hardest 10 days at my work come in the middle of July, when the parish has 10 days of programming, one after another. On the evening before this took place, some friends brought me a plate of cookies, at about 11 p.m., just to say they hoped I would make it. I remember this, too, the support.

20. What act of selflessness are you most proud of?
An interesting question, because it brings to mind the times that I should have actually had boundaries in place, and protected my time.

That being said, I helped with a retreat out in Saginaw that pushed me a little out of my comfort zone, but, also was fruitful for those who attended. I was happy to be a part of that, even though I was tired going into it. 😊

My brother also asked me to write a piece for a performance he was directing, and, although I was kind of busy, I decided to help out. The piece was about the women of the genealogy of Christ. There are only four listed in Scripture, even though there are many men listed. The piece explored their stories, and their crying out for a savior. The stories are all really heavy. In the first, a woman is denied a husband by her previous father-in-law, so, she disguises herself as a prostitute, sleeps with him, gets pregnant, and calls him out on his actions once she’s showing. The second (the one I ended up playing), is a full-time prostitute, rescuing the Israelite slaves who visit her. The third is also a foreign woman, who finds a man and has a little bit of an “unconventional slumber party” with him (a line from the piece). The fourth is a married woman who was summoned to the presence of King David, she gets pregnant, and King David kills her husband…and her baby dies, too. It was done rhythmically, and in rhyme, with the haunting hook of the first two lines of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” throughout. It was very intense, very raw, very honest. I tried to bring their pain into the story, and to use it in conjunction with the stories we have heard with the #Metoo movement. And, many women approached me afterwards and said they were very touched by the piece. (Some men did as well). So, it was cool to collaborate on some art with other artists, for others.

Cast photo. I neglected this blog to write a long reflection on the women of the genealogy for these faces. And I’d probably do it again.

21. What act of self-restraint are you most proud of?
In October, I was burnt out from the summer, and facing a long lineup of fall and winter events at the parish. One of my events is super popular, and it sold out in 24 hours (3 separate tours, all sold out). I was asked to add a few more, but said that I could not. I was asked to find volunteers, I replied that that was more work. The entire exchange was embarrassing and frustrating, but, afterwards, a coworker texted me, “I’m proud of you for standing up for yourself,” and I realized…I was the first person to ever try to set a personal boundary like that at work. And it wasn’t a huge one, and I probably needed more, but, it was also a precedent.
I have heard it referenced a few times, that incident, and…even though it was hard, I’m proud it happened.

22. What purchase are you most pleased with?
I was asked to plus-one at a wedding, where the vibe was casual, but it was still in a church. Summer wedding. With dancing. But “casual.”

If that’s not a tricky dress code to decipher, eh?

I decided to make a dress, and I went to a few shops before buying a light grey-and-white striped bit of cotton yardage. I used a vintage pattern to make a lovely frock, and it’s super cute, flattering, and summer-y.


This is the only picture I have of said-dress. POCKETS.

23. How has your personal style evolved?
This is going to sound crazy, but, I have never really liked or worn much black. In fact, I had previously removed nearly every black item of clothing from my wardrobe. Last spring, though, I bought a black-and-white striped sweater, a light wool, with button detailing, from a church rummage sale and dang if that thing wasn’t the gateway drug.
I don’t mean to say that I have a lot of black things, but…I did buy a really cute pair of black boots, too. 😀

24. What is one area of your life where you improved the most?
This makes me nervous because I can think OF NOTHING TO SAY.

Maybe I worked on routine? I don’t like routine, I don’t like the way it feels….confining and stifling. I like doing things spur-of-the-moment, and organic. But! I also realize that a little bit of structure can be beneficial to me. I tried to go to daily Mass 4 days/ week during Lent. It was good but also felt…exhausting. I’ve tried to bring more balance to my life—days carved out for exercise, prayer, art.

I’m not saying I’m good at this, I’m just saying that I’m trying.

25. How successful were you in accomplishing your new year’s resolutions?
So, I remember that I was just prayer-chatting with God last year over the new year, and I was like, “God, what would you like me to focus on this year?”
And I was kind of expecting a really difficult directive but then I instead heard, “Why don’t you just travel the world?”

So, I tried to do that. I tried to travel somewhere once a month.

  • I went to Milwaukee for a wedding in January, caught up with my cousin, Hanna (my date!!) and Friar Thomas, who wore SANDALS in JANUARY in WISCONSIN.
  • In February/ March (it was a big trip, and it spanned the months), I went to Rome with Julia and Fr. Grayson, and then Prague with Julia and Johanna
  • In April I visited my sister in Omaha, and there was an ICE STORM (April!!!) but we got sushi anyway
  • Due to work, May and June and July were trip-free
  • In August I went to Chicago and Marytown (Hanna again. My. This pattern…)
  • I also went to Ireland in August…………………….
  • In September I went on a little camping trip, with a too-long hike for my tired self, and Kathryn picked me up and we had dinner in Western Michigan along the Kal-Haven trail
  • In October I was in Indianapolis for work…so I counted that
  • In November I visited my sister again, in Omaha, for Thanksgiving
  • And, in early January (I’ll still count it), I went to the SEEK Conference in Indianapolis
  • And now I’m driving back from Chicago, having visited Hanna and stopped by Marytown yet again.



Here I am doin’ a retreat. 

One thought on “Back in the saddle CONTINUED

  1. ummm…GERMANY! You should probably come to Germany. I’ll make you yummy gluten free spätzle (I’ve got it nearly perfected) and we can go for quiet walks in the forest and explore town and talk about what God is doing. It will be lovely and relaxing. Come to us. 🙂

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