Monday, October 31, 2011



This weekend was Fall Retreat.  I was not super looking forward to it, because we had a very small number of teens and it was another weekend away from my family.  It ended up being one of my favorites.  We switched around the format, so it was only two days.  The kids were awesome.  BUT, the best part was being able to minister with my friends.   It is so great that God has blessed me with a job that can include friends and families.  Sure, it makes it complicated sometimes, but for the most part…I dig.

The husband and I had a super night last night.  We had a bit of conflict which led to a deeper discussion.  Within that discussion, Aaron said that even though he doesn’t articulate it all the time, our life is sometimes hard on him too.  He said that he doesn’t feel like he can complain, because it would just add to the stress level I am already feeling.  What he said was simple ,but it got me thinking. I have been QUITE wrapped up in myself the last couple months (since July).  About how difficult it is for me to balance home, family, friends, work…etc… About how much it suck s to be away and be busy every weekend.  It has been quite a bit of stress, but because I can be SO self-involved, I haven’t spent much time thinking about how it affects him.  How working all day, then driving across town, picking up the kid, coming home and putting him to bed, then straightening out the house so it is not a mess when I get home, etc…might actually be wearing on Aaron too.  It was a good reminder that although I have married a rather self-less man, it is important not to take advantage of that.  It is important, from time to time, to check in on the husband and how all these changes are affecting BOTH of us.  I am going to put that into play for the next little while.  It also made me aware that we HAVE to be intentional about slowing time from time to time and doing things like pajama days.

This is kind of linked to the first.  But, Aaron says I have a ‘Mary-did-list’ vs. a ‘Honey Do List’.  Often times I like to list off the things that I did for him/our family, instead of just doing them.  Like it is a competition to see who did more, rather than a team effort.  Along with that, I judge when he takes time to just relax.  He pointed that out to me last weekend, when he said, ‘Mary, if you are working, that doesn’t mean I have to be working too, I am allowed to chill out occasionally’.  Which was an EXCELLENT point.   I am going to try to remember this as well, and I have been working on not doing the ‘Mary did list’ all the time.  We shall see how that goes.


BTW- our kid is like, the cutest ever.  Halloween with a child is FANTASTIC.  Yesterday, we carved pumpkins (he watched) took pictures (Big Aaron made me refrain from taking too many) and tonight we will go to both grandparents to ‘trick-or-treat’.  LOL!  I will post pictures and maybe some video tomorrow- but just know, it is going to overload you on adorable…so you might want to start preparing now. 

Monday, October 24, 2011


Engaging the Young Church Conference
This weekend was Detroit's first 'Engaging the Young Church Conference'.  It was an excellent time to be with others etc...I wish it didn't come at such a busy time of the year because I was SPENT after.  BUT, it was a pretty magical time.  The diocese was blessed by the skillz of a Mr. Bob Rice, professor at Franciscan University.  My dear friend Mike and I discussed after how awesome it is that Franciscan is not as 'contraversial' as it once was.  It has been pretty awesome to see the 'mood' of the field change when it comes to my Alma mater.  When I first started in the field, if I said I was from Franciscan, I could feel a tangible pull back of the people in the room.  For a whole bunch of reasons, I think that has COMPLETELY changed.  What a blessing!  I remember about 9 years ago telling one of my friends that people better get used to us, because the rate of FUSBALL graduates was going to change youth ministry in this country. I think it has.  I think we have also learned to be normal, vs. weirdo/judgmental/high-horsey catechists...that has helped.  Anyway- YAY God and ministry.

Authentic Christian Witness
Mr. Bob Rice’s 3rd key note address was on being an authentic Christian Witness. It was pretty powerful, but here is the bummer.  That night, a few of my friends and I hung out.  Although we had a great time, in reflection I realized the way I talked, the things I said, the words I used…for the most part weren’t the best.  I realized that often times I talk the talk but don’t walk the walk, particularly when hanging out with friends.  The next day the husband and I spoke about it briefly, I decided I am going to try to be more consistent in my life.  If I don’t swear around my teens, I should work on not swearing around my friends/family.  If I don’t talk badly about people in front of my teens, I should work on not talking badly about people with friends/family.  If I don’t use off-colored humor around my teens, I should work on not using off colored humor around my friends/family.  I enjoy the ‘call-out’ that God gave me this weekend, because I am hoping to use it to grow closer to him.

Should I do more speaking
This week was weird. I helped a friend with his Confirmation Retreat, gave 2 separate Theology on Tap talks and 2 Social Media Workshops.  Tonight, I will be helping another friend with her Confirmation program.  I completely over-committed myself which is a problem, but for the most part the talks went exceptionally well and I got really great feedback.  This is weird, but in addition I was approached by a few different people about coming out to their parishes and giving talks/retreats.  Anyway, sometimes, I wonder if God could be calling me more in that direction.  BUT, I don’t know what to do about that because in order to go ALL-IN, I would have to have a great many more weeks like the one I just had- and that kind of overwhelms me.  I talked to Blessed JPII about it and asked him to guide our family the way Jesus sees fit, so for now, I am just trusting.

Blessed John Paul II
I could BARELY get through Mass on Saturday.  His first feast day, the Gospel of John reading, ‘Do you REALLY love me’ (a HUGE part of how I feel I got called into ministry) and the song, ‘Lord, when you came’.  I cried through most of the liturgy, feeling so GRATEFUL for the way God has directed my life.  Once again grieving Pope John Paul ( I felt like we were buddies) and taking a moment or two to see how everything in life is connected. It was a really beautiful and much needed prayer moment.

Pajama Days
Yesterday was a much needed day off.  We stayed in our pajamas all day long.  It was GREAT.  At one point, Aaron was curled up and lil’ Aaron was tucked in his side playing with his toys. I, of course, started crying because I can’t believe I get to live this life with my two boys.  Big Aaron scratched my back till I fell asleep at 9:30 pm. I have not gone to bed that relaxed in a couple of months. I slept ten hours. It was awesome, it was great, I feel refreshed and ready to go!  God is good. Pajama days are AWESOME!

Is this normal
My son screams like this (below) all the time!  Is this normal?  I would love some answers on this because sometimes I worry that he does it because he is ‘too stimulated’ during the day. Or, that is mother is SO LOUD that he is learning this is how to communicate.  Thoughts? 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


My husband and I drove down to Detroit yesterday to look at the ‘Occupy Detroiters’.  Which, btw, is actually quite funny in Detroit, because really, who are you raging against (so as not to offend, I get that some of the occupiers are raging against the man for well-meaning reasons)? That being said, I do have respect for their tent city, it reminded me of WYD and a youth event we have here called the ‘Homeless Experience’.  BUT, that isn’t what I wanted to write about.  After, we went to this famous Detroit BBQ place called ‘Slows’ and got carry out.  Whilst waiting, our child decided to number 2 it in the restaurant.  So, obviously we both fought about who had to hold him until we left (Aaron lost and had to hold him because he wouldn’t go get the diaper bag).  BUT, that isn’t what I wanted to write about.  When in the car, about to drive home, Aaron (Big) took a huge sniff and said, ‘AHHH….it smells like poop and pork in here’.  And I thought to myself, ‘being a parent is weird’.  That is what I wanted to write about.
If you have been reading this blog (btw- I dig the creepers who read it) you know one thing I am majorly struggling with is being a part-time stay at home mom vs. a full time stay at home mom.  I didn’t realize how hard it would be, and I would just love to hang with the child all the time (never fear teens, you are stuck with me).  For instance, last night was the last night this week that I will be able to tuck my baby in bed at night, and that, my friends, is garbage.  BUT, I am starting to be able to figure out what is really bothering me.  You see, my mom was a stay-at-home mom, so that is all I have ever known.  Because of that, I am judging myself by a standard that was NEVER my reality; it was my mom’s reality.  Let me explain…When I was in college one of the most insightful things a professor said to us bright-eye’d-know-it-all neo conservatives was, ‘You can’t talk about longing for the days pre-Vatican II because NONE of you were born, you don’t even know those days’.  So, I apply that here.  I keep longing to be a stay-at-home mom, but the deal was, that is not my reality.  It is not like I am wishing for something I once had. What I have is this incredible life, where I get to work, pay off debt, experience a radical type of teamwork with my husband and give my kid a pretty cool life with lots of people that love him.  That is the reality that has been handed to me, and although it has its drawbacks, I need to start to accept it.  And live it cheerfully (which btw- I think, for the most part I do, accept with the husband).  I am going to try to apply that, but on weeks like this, with no tuck-ins, it is still hard.
My husband’s reflection on Ron Paul, ‘He’s like the brilliant grandfather that no one listens to, but is actually quite logical’. LOL.  I am SO glad that I married my husband as we walk through this political season.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


...so read with caution.
I have this old friend from school, let’s call her Jane.  And Jane’s recent facebook posts have all been about ‘occupying wall street’, ‘putting down the man’, ‘fighting the system of greed and corruption’.  Sweet Jane, for the past 10 years or so, she has worked odd jobs here and there, surfed occasionally, traveled a lot.  Sweet Jane has also ‘freed her mind’ with a crud-ton of drugs.  And now, sweet Jane wants us to raise up our arms, head to wall street and fight the man.  I know all my ‘occupy wall street’ friends are not like sweet Jane.  But to her I say…(drum roll please…) DUDE! Get a JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That is it for the day.  Blessings be upon your Thursday

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


...waking up early with the little munchkin.  My whole soul fills with dread when I hear his first coos in the morning (we’ve come a long way from being in the hospital and not wanting to sleep because I wanted to hold him all night).  I ADORE sleep, always have and most likely always will.  So, after 5 hours, hearing his first initial sounds are always filled with a sense of dread…I slowly drag myself out of bed, wondering why we thought this having a kid thing was a good idea
I see his smiling face.  Right now, the sweet baby boy is crazy into stroking my face.  After the first few minutes I begin to wake up.  I hold his tiny body next to mine and can’t believe that we get to co-share him with God.  I snuggle him tight and watch as he discovers his tongue and blows his constant ‘raspberries’.  The morning is his best time.  He is ALL smiles.  This morning, I set him in his chair, I did the dishes, made daddy lunch and sang to him and I swear, the smile never left his face.  The dread goes completely away and I am geeked about the time I get to spend with my child in the morning.
God is good and babies are greatJ

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sectional Couch Rant

Today, we shall have a guest blogger on this site.....Aaron Christopher Wilkerson I.  But first, I think that everyone should view the following link:


Let that be a lesson to you all that just because you dress up like a hero, there's only one true hero: Jesus.

Anywayz, let me get back to what I'm here for: unfiltered uncensored unadulterated honesty.  As I sit here on sectional couch watching the Tigers get ready to lose Game 2 of the ALCS, a thought I have in my head is: Since when do I watch baseball?  It's interesting how the playoffs can bring the most fair weather fans out of hiding.  Oh snap, Victor Cruz just got hit by a pitch!  I wonder if that was premeditated.  I think that to be a pitcher, you have to have some sort of control.

But I digress....The real purpose of me to be on this blog is, wait a second, my scorching hot wife just walked in.  I hit the jackpot with her, real talk.  Look as she picks up things off the ground!  Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night and I say to myself (Strike 2!), "self, why do I keep waking up in the middle of the night?"  Actually, I don't say that.  I just wrote that for comedic license.  My wife is beautiful.  Beautifully beautiful in fact.  If I were to all of a sudden lose my memory and I saw her for the first time, I would  (Double Play!!!!!  Extra Innings!!!) say, "Beautiful"  It's sorta like that movie, Regarding Henry featuring Harrison Ford and Annette Bening back in the 90's.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, please rent that movie.  Cinematic adventure.  Well, J.Lo is on tv and she wants me to move my body and buy a Fiat.  So I shall now determine how to afford it.  Peace to the Middle East!

Friday, October 7, 2011

The other day...

...I met Aaron at his work for lunch.  This is NOT a regular occurrence because Aaron works forty minutes from our house.  By the time I pack up the baby, get there, eat and drive home, it is a three hour adventure.   A three hour adventure that I don’t really want to take on my day off, especially on a week where things aren’t going as smoothly as one would like.  Any hooter, when I finally got there- Aaron jumps in the car and we drive to go meet some of our friends. After a bit of small talk, he mentions that I am not wearing make-up.  Now, this might seem like an innocent comment. 
What Aaron didn’t realize is in the morning I was super frazzled trying to get ready.  I literally couldn’t find ANYTHING in my closet that still fit (um, post baby body is NOT working for me, especially because I can’t seem to find the time to get in shape/eat right, but that is another post). And so I burst into hysterics.  I was dressed in dirty jeans, a stained t-shirt, my hair in a ponytail and no makeup.  WHAT WAS I THINKING!?!?!  Aaron insisted that he was just kidding and only making the comment because I usually do wear make-up when we meet up.
I calmed down enough to enjoy lunch with him and a couple of our friends.  On the looong ride home, I pondered how I thought it was acceptable to go out of the house looking like that.  You should know, I have never been ‘put together’ but I do try to look halfway normal when meeting my husband.  A year ago, I would have straightened my hair, put on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, added make up and a smile.  Now, I show up looking like a hot mess. I started to think of concerns I have about being a good wife to my husband, to ‘keep him interested’ etc…I thought about how easy it is to ‘let yourself slide’ when you are working/mommy-ing/wife-ing etc…I thought about the importance of taking care of myself and made one more commitment that I would start healthy living tomorrow…
A few hours later, I shared all these thoughts with my husband.  And, once again, he responded in the best way ever, ‘Dear, you know I am not THAT guy’.  My husband isn’t the guy that gives me a hard time about my dress, my weight, etc…those are pressures I put on myself.
 My husband is the guy that makes me feel pretty, even though I am sometimes not.  He is the guy that makes me feel womanly, even though I have always been a bit of a tom-boy.  He is the guy that thinks I am a great mom and makes sure to thank me for making his lunch every day.  My husband is truly not THAT guy.  Then, I thought about all the teenage women I work for.  How I desperately want them to find guys that aren’t ‘THAT GUY’.  How so many of them will settle for less because they think it is all they deserve.  It bums me out that they will allow themselves to feel less than beautiful in the eyes of a man, simply because they don’t’ have the patience to wait it out, or society tells them they should.  So many of the young women I work with will not know what it is like to be loved by a guy like Aaron because so many of them won’t wait for it and won’t demand it from the men they will date.  WHAT A BUMMER! 
Then, I thought about this.  It is PRECISIOUSLY because my guy is not THAT guy, that I should make an effort to look beautiful for him.  It is PRECIOUSLY because he doesn’t expect it, that occasionally I should wear my hair down like he likes, and make him a good home-cooked meal.  It is PRECIOUSLY because he is NOT that guy that I should strive everyday to make sure my love for him is sincere and that I am outdoing him kindness.  I have so far to go, but maybe par t of the equation is recognizing it! 
Peace be upon your weekend!   Thank God for the gifts around youJ