This is my Camino. Welcome.

End of the saddle-conclusion

More reflections from 2018 ahead!

26. What awesome new habits did you adopt?
I try to pray a rosary on my way into work, and not to listen to trashy radio.
Can’t say I’m perfect at this, though.
I will say! It is helpful for me to set goals in this. I.e. “I’m going to pray a Rosary every day of the month of October” or “I’m going to do the 54 Day Novena.”

I’m also not sure if this is new or not, but, my therapist pointed out to me that I do this, and she even said that she has told other clients about it, so, that’s cool…I write the word “NO” in all caps across a few days of each month of my planner. (Yes, I use a paper monthly calendar. The physical visualization helps me).

Having a monthly calendar is also helpful for me, seeing what weeks will be heavy, where I can breathe, where I can get away, etc.

27. What were you worried about that you wish you’d worried about less (or not at all?)
There was a committee I was asked to be a part of but, very quickly I started having concerns. I was afraid that backing out of the committee would have negative repercussions. An external processor, I called no fewer than seven people I really trusted, and they all encouraged me to honestly and earnestly attempt to back out of the committee. In the end, with their help, I voiced my concerns, and I was granted the ability to leave in a few-second conversation.
Thank God.

28. Name your funniest memory this year—the one that you can’t help but laugh when you think about it?
Oh my gosh!!!
One of my favorite spots in the world is Assisi, a smalllllll town in Italy, where a man named “St. Franics of Assisi” lived and served. I’ve been there once, and I love it—it’s small and quiet and peaceful. An aside—St. Francis is my confirmation saint.
When planning on traveling to Italy with Julia and Father Grayson I selfishly said, “And I want to go to Assisi for a day, even if no one else wants to, I can take a train alone,” but they said that they wanted to join, and they did, and we read poetry and talked about our childhoods and memories and dreams the train rides both ways.

When we got to Assisi it was a bit of a chilly rain, but we went in and out of the churches and Father Grayson prayed a private mass for just the three of us in the CHAPEL OF SAN DAMIANO (the place where St. Francis originally heard his call NO BIG DEAL) and then we went to lunch.

Lunch was in a restaurant with new paint, but the building itself was probably around when St. Francis walked those streets, so old were the bricks.

The rain and the walking and the train ride meant we all had a bit of an appetite, so we ordered and Father Grayson started telling us more stories of his childhood, all dramatically re-enacted, and we laughed until we cried.

Even that night, getting ready for bed in our hotel room, I mimicked Father Grayson’s stories to Julia until she laughed and laughed and laughed.

29. Which new (or renewed) friendships are you most grateful for this year?
I would say “deepened” friendships for this one. For a while, I would Facebook chat with my friend, Naomi, but, sometime in the last year or so, that group chat expanded to include another friend of ours, Joe, and this has been my lifeline for a few hard days.
But, we’ve also had interesting discussions about everything else as well. We’ve got relationship advice, we’ve got prayer requests, we’ve got job advice, we’ve got encouragement, we’ve got opinion pieces and a few soapbox rants. There are a lot of GIFs. There was a fascinating thread on modesty culture. They know all the dirty laundry. It’s very honest and alive, and I love it.

30. Who had the biggest positive impact on your life?
Geez Louise, maybe the aforementioned group chat? They keep me laughing on the hardest of days.

31. What is the most important lesson you learned?
I already knew a part of this lesson.

I used to tell myself, and my sister, “Listen, you don’t have a fairy godmother.”

This is code for: no one is going to come into your life and make your dreams come true and give you a princess dress. You need to pursue your dreams yourself.

I think I learned it in a new way this year, though, and that’s that…I need to be the one fighting for me. There isn’t a fairy godmother who is going to say, “Hey, stop treating Danielle that way, it’s not fair.” That kind of direction needs to come from me.

Don’t ask me why it took so long for me to learn this thing. It’s probably because my plate wasn’t ever as full as it was this year.

32. What new idea, film, article, or book impacted you the most?
Well, I feel uncultured for not having an answer to the film-or-book part of this. So, I’m going to go with something I’ve been thinking about from a podcast. Three Dogs North. Favzies podcast. (Lol!! I have MY OWN PODCAST and I like theirs more!)

Well, actually, it’s a line from a song from one of the guys on the podcast. This line: “When you said how much this all would cost me I thought that you were joking, but you weren’t.”

I ran into this priest at a conference, mentioned the line, asked him what it was about. Like a good artist he asked me, “What do you think it is about?”

And I thought about my beautiful friends who have always wanted a baby, but are infertile.
And I thought about my friend, a priest, who would love to have a parish, but will probably always be asked to work administrative roles (because he’s just REALLY GOOD at that).
And I thought about my friends who have tried to join religious life but, for whatever reason, have never found the right spot.
And I thought about all the good women I know, who want to be married, but aren’t.
And I thought about all of the times I cried over the scandals this year, and this broken, broken church.

So I mentioned those things, briefly. He said it could be about those things……but it was probably about something else.

33. What person, thing, or memory from this year will you probably remember to share even when you’re old and gray? (“Back in my day…”)
Maybe I won’t be talking about it in my grey years, but….I think that this is the year of the church scandals for me.

I remember the Boston scandals, but only partially. I was younger, and social media wasn’t as prominent. This year, though, I’m older and social media is more prominent.

The scandals rocked me on a deep level. I do not deny them. I believe just about everything I have heard.

There is much inside of me about these, but, maybe that’s for a different post.

34. What did you most enjoy learning?
I’ve learned a new form of circus, called “rope.” It is what it sounds like, a rope, but covered in a canvas, suspended from the ceiling. I’ve learned to climb it, to manipulate it. I’m not great on it, but, I do respect it, and that’s a lot of fun for me.

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35. What do you want to explore, learn, or see more of?
I always want to get a bit deeper in to Jesus’ heart, there.

I want to continue to travel this year. I feel like I could use a few days off of the ocean, just staring at it. I would like to dive more deeply into Detroit. I want to get better on the rope, throw more parties, and read more books. I want to cut more linoblocks, sew more clothes, write more challenging words.

To be honest with you, thirty-five questions into a forty question quiz…it feels good to be writing again. It feels good to have carved the time out to be writing again.
(Does it feel good to be reading again? Thanks for sticking with me).

36. Which habits do you want to get rid of or improve on?
I need to be way better about relentlessly building my personal life. I have a job I love, and I can too easily be convinced to spend my life/ love/ time there…which is awesome! I’m so fortunate to work somewhere where I am passionate about the work I do!

That being said, I want to set bigger goals for myself, and really invest in my relationships. I don’t want to be a workaholic. I want to be a well-rounded hippie artist lady who loves her people and also has a ton of plants and makes good food and has a hospitable home.

37. Whom do you want to spend more time with in the next year?
This was for real one of my resolutions! I wrote a list of women who I would like to know better in the coming year, women who are strong and good, and I want to get tea with them and live life with them. So I’ve been steadily messaging them like, “Should we get tea? Dinner? See art?” and, thus far, things have been going very well.

38. What from this year is pointing to good things to come?
My white-knuckled wishes for a better 2019.

To be honest, even as I drifted to sleep yesterday, in my beautiful Chicago Airbnb whose two bedroom skylights were covered in snow, I jerked myself awake thinking about the giant projects I have coming down the pipeline at work. No Bueno. I once read that part of having ADD is having difficultly understanding how time works. The ADD mind has a hard time understanding how to best divide-and-conquer long lists of things, so when they, for instance, see a syllabus, it’s hard to realize that all of that work is spread out over a few months, and doesn’t need to be done instantly.

The ADD mind also sees things as to be done “now” or “not now,” which is why you might see something labeled “procrastination.” Well, to some, it looks like procrastination, but, to other minds, sometimes things don’t need to be addressed that early in the game.

I don’t think I have ADD…but, I do think that it’s hard for me to set reasonable goals for my time, so instead, I think about everything that needs to be done in the coming year, and I get anxious.

Maybe I’ll make a giant calendar when I get back to my office tomorrow.

39. What did you not do this year that you promise to do next year?
Man. I would say, “Be better about boundaries,” but that’s not a SMART goal. SO WE GONNA SAY, “Finish Dracula.”

Although, I would also like to have an evening of prayer with friends. And another book discussion. And another 7 course dinner party.

40. What overarching theme do you want to embrace in 2019?
I had dinner with Father Grayson and Julia the other day, and Julia and I were talking about our resolutions, and Father Grayson laughed at us and mimicked, “I want to do more of everything, including resting.”

It does strike with humor, doesn’t it? But, it is what I want. I want to have more personal life. More calm at work. I want to rest more.

Maybe my theme for the year can be, “All is calm; all is bright,” like that beautiful Christmas song. <3

Happy New Year! (She writes at the end of January).

It’s good to be back.

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